Sunday, 15 December 2013

Step Into Christmas

We're well and truly in the midst of the festive season now. Houses are twinkling with lights and everyone is buzzing with excitement for the big man in red to make an appearance. As soon as 1st December hit, we put up our Christmas tree - after all, it only comes once a year so you may as well enjoy having the house glowing with lights for as long as possible.

We've gone for a fairly minimal theme of white and silver on the tree this year, with a few other Christmas treasures around the house for goos measure. I'm absolutely loving our Beatles bauble we bought in Liverpool a few weeks ago - it's taken pride of place this year.

Food and drink are obviously high on the agenda this month and something keeping me warm at the moment is teapigs gorgeous and very Christmassy, Spiced Winter Red Tea - think Chai but with a festive orange, clove and cinnamon twist. The smell is unreal! I'm also a bit obsessed with the idea of making my own mulled ginger beer - thinking about throwing one of these spiced tea bags in for a different twist.

I've got quite a bit of time off over Christmas and New Year, and absolutely can't wait to gorge on cheese and seasonal fayre. And, as for New Year? Well, Joe is working over Christmas so our Christmas Day is on New Year's Eve so we both get to enjoy a double celebration and bit of time off together in the New Year.

What are your plans this Christmas?


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Empire Drive - Gosforth, Newcastle

I'm a bit of a home and interiors buff. In a previous job, I looked at home and lifestyle trends for home interior clients, and this confirmed my love for all things beautiful for the home.

This is something for which my love has seriously developed , and when we bought our flat last year, I was determined to make the interior styling was a good mixture of my favourite interior styles - Scandinavian, mid-century modern and salvaged.

I've recently been looking for a few new pieces for the flat, and luckily, I heard from James, owner of mid century modern/antique furniture store, Empire Drive in Gosforth, Newcastle - a handy 20 minute drive from where I live.

It's fantastic that James' business in thriving in the North East, where we have such a hotbed of great independent home product designer-makers, restorers, retailers and interior enthusiasts.

James' dad, who'd been involved in the antiques trade for over 30 years and has a significant knowledge of all things antiques, which he's passed down to him, offered James a space to work out of in Sunderland when he was looking to expand into the furniture business and sell on lovingly restored pieces.

Now with his business based in Gosforth, James has a fantastic array of mid-century modern and antique furniture for sale. He also has a selection of furniture available online - I've got my eyes the Ercol drop leaf table.

Empire Drive is open to the public 3 days a week; Thursday-Saturday 10am-5pm 

All images courtesy of James Newrick.


Sunday, 13 October 2013

California Dreamin'

Last month, Joe and I headed off to California for a magical 10 days. We crammed an absolute load into our time there and took waaay too many photos (I'm still trying to edit them!).

LA and San Francisco are two of the most incredible cities I've been lucky enough to visit and we'll definitely be going back.

Here's a look at Cali through the medium of Instagram.

Straight from the airport to Santa Monica beach and a well deserved Coronarita / SMP / lovely typography a step away from our hotel / end of Route 66 / sunset / beautiful tiled floor in Blue Plate Taco / pastel prettiness / The Bean / Venice

Amazing fresh juices in Local 1205 on Abbot Kinney, Venice / cycling from Santa Monica to Venice / gorgeous milk glass, wish I could've brought some home - so cheap! / far too much money was spent in this brilliant store, Urbanic Paper / skaters at Venice Beach / the amazing menu in my most favourite restaurant EVER, Gjelina / homemade Chorizo pizza, broccolini, and chickpea and black kale stew / LA > SF / SF cable car - best way to commute around the city.

Super smiley on the tram / Defeating the meat at In-N-Out Burger / Fisherman's Wharf / cable car selfie / yummy cocktails at Local Edition / Traz / AMB <3 JM / GGB / lush seafood at La Mar

Had the most amazing ice cream from Polar Bear ice cream in Santa Cruz / just part of a huge graffiti in SC / surf shop / Santa Cruz / Santa Barbara Stearn's Wharf / amazing fish tacos in the sunshine / Paradise Cove beers with J / heaven.

An amazing welcome at the fabulous Avalon Hotel in Beverley Hills / BH / brilliant sign outside Avalon / poolside cocktails / Central Perk at WB Studios / living the dream / Universal Studios / J / jut a teeny tiny selection of my Whole Foods haul

The best burger I've ever had at Short Order, Farmer's Market / haulin' at Amoeba Music / Deus Ex Machina / Paris in LA at Bouchon Bakery / second visit to the truly wonderful Gjelina / mecca / kicking Joe's bum at table tennis in The Standard Downtown / last night cocktails at the rooftop pool / LAPL.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Music Slash Art, Newcastle upon Tyne

There's a new cool kid in Toon.

MSA (Music Slash Art) is the UK's first truly art integrated music venue, curated by the guys over at Unit 44 (over in culture hub, Hoults Yard), and at the end of last month it opened it's doors.

With specially curated installations providing backdrops for live performances, this is the ideal amalgamation to showcase the ever-thriving music, arts and culture scene in Newcastle.

The interior has also been decked out by contemporary design masters, Deadgood - if you haven't already checked out their range, get to it. 

Now, I haven't had chance to get down there for a nose around yet, but I absolutely cannot wait to see what this venue has in store.

All images courtesy of MSA / Full Fat 


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Run, run, run

For those of you who follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you'll have probably seen various tweets/photos about my running antics and training for some long distance events.

I took up running a couple of years ago and entered the Great North Run for the first time in 2011, but unfortunately, injury kept rearing it's ugly head - I've always had incredibly weak ankles and at one point pulled my Achilles tendon. The actual worst.

So, after deferring 2011's run, I got back into the training.

Last year, I ran the GNR for the first time in 2 hours 12 mins - a time I'm pretty damn pleased with considering I don't think of my myself as a super fast runner.

The past year has seen me completely up the training, change diet and lifestyle, and as well as running, I've been focussing on strength training and overall stamina. This has been massively helpful in improving my running times and hopefully will help me get the holy grail of a sub-2 hour half marathon this year.

So, next month, I'll be lacing up my Asics Gel 3030s to run the GNR for the brilliant charity Help for Heroes - check out my Just Giving site here.

And the day after the run? I jet off to LA - can you think of a better recovery than In-N-Out Burgers, Coronaritas and sunbathing on Venice Beach?!

Are you doing the Great North Run this year? I love a running nerd - share your tips.


Sunday, 18 August 2013


Like the title of this post, that's what I've been lately.

Life has been a blur of work, running, holiday planning...the last 2 months have literally flown by.

Here's a sneak peak into AMB's world over the past few weeks.

1. Getting my fill of all things cultural with Monocle / 2. Naughty purchases from Space NK (well, not naughty, but some very vital Institut Esthederm for my upcoming holiday to California / 3. RUNNING. I'm training for the Great North Run (4 weeks today!), so training has been taking up most of my free time. / 4. Getting my foody fill at The Grazer's Ouseburn Festival Feast. / 5. The gorgeous airstream caravan down at The Cycle Hub / 6. The Miller's Daughter's yummy sweet treats; she does a mean bake. / 7. New pooch addition to J's family, Poppy / 8. Brightening up some neutral postcard prints with acid green Washi tape / 9. Big Bro.

1. Street art in Heaton / 2. Riley's Fish Shack goodies down at King Eddie's Bay / 3. Going green for Newcastle Racecourse's Ladies Day / 4. Studying the race card / 5. Smarty pants / 6. Recovery food at Lola's (MUCH needed after one too many Pimm's / 7. Taking Somerby for a ride; in love with my new basket / 8. Joe's vintage Mini, perfect for coastal drives on sunny days / 9. Pretty flowers on the bar in Barca

1. Posh beers on a recent Friday night / 2. Sa'll about the hipster / 3. Beautiful sunset after a heavy thunderstorm in the Toon / 4. Flat White at Sugarloaf  / 5. Anchor nails for Kate's hen do / 6. Vibrant flags down at Tynemouth Sailing Club for Riley's Fish Shack pop-up curry night / 7. Our hen donning some fancy dress finery / 8. The classiest club in Penrith / 9. Finally, GNR pack game. Hoping to smash 1.55 this year! I'm raising vital funds for Help For Heroes.


Sunday, 2 June 2013

What's been going down.

1. A brilliant new event in Newcastle, which takes place on the first Friday and Saturday of the month. Amazing local food, drinks and music...I give you The Boiler Shop Steamer / 2. Sea salt soap at RE:found Objects in Corbridge / 3. Gifts from America / 4. One of my best evening's I've had in a long while...The Grazer's Supperclub at the Ouse Street Arts Club. Can't wait for the next one! / 5. Espresso martinis from Ouseburn Coffee Company / 6. Retriever doing their thing at The Cluny / 7. Dirty Beaches! / 8. New beauty treats / 9. Cocktails at Toon favourite, Alvinos.
1. Food with Mama and Papa Barnes at Lola Jeans in Tynemouth / 2. A favourite shop of mine in Tynemouth, Boys Like Dolls - a fantastic selection of vintage fashion and homeware pieces / 3. Celebrating my Mama Barnes' 60th birthday in Newcastle / 4. Food heaven courtesy of The Broad Chare / 5, 6, 7. Celebrating the wedding of Beth and Hal at Shortflatt Tower in Belsay. Hands down the best wedding I've been to - filled with so much love, happiness and great memories. Check out their utterly brilliant first dance. / 8. Homemade burger and chips / 9. Nadine Shah being rad.
1. Green goodness to help me get over a horrible cold / 2. Mum's 60th birthday party with the whole family. This amazing cake was made by Becky - check her out if you need some sweet treats for any occassion / 3. Checking out new Tynemouth cafe, Dil & The Bear - I can highly recommend their chorizo homemade baked beans and array of smoothies / 4. Have you seen this bird? / 5. Payday treats from ASOS - the perfect lightweight summertime jacket / 6. Sydney Hale Company candles - a treat for the nose / 7. A summertime essential. Coconut ice cream from Di Meo's, Whitley Bay / 8. Mojito time! / 9. Beautiful King Edward's Bay in Tynemouth. So lucky that this is 10 minute stroll from my flat.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Tatty Devine comes to the Toon

I have long been a fan of Tatty Devine,  the ultimate laser cut perspex jewellery supremos.

Ever since first discovering them at the age of 14, I've been bowled over by their super-cool jewellery and accessories, and have made a fair few purchases over the years; their iconic name necklaces, plectrum earrings and spectacle neckwear.

This summer, BALTIC Shop, one of my favourite North East shopping destinations, part BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and TD's larget North East stockist, welcome the Tatty Devine team, who'll be hosting the region's first Bunting Necklace Workshops. Aspiring jewellery makers can work with the team in choosing their own necklace components and create a bunting masterpiece all for themselves.

The two workshops, running on Saturday 13th July, are sure to sell out quick, so to book your place on this super exclusive workshop, hot-foot it over to BALTIC Shop to get your hands on some tickets, or click here to book online. 

Tatty Devine Bunting Necklace Workshops
Saturday 13 July 2013
Workshop Times: 12.00 and 14.30
£35.00 per person

All images courtesy of BALTIC and Tatty Devine


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Come Closer.

There is so much bloody great music coming out of the North East at the minute, I can't get enough.
I'm more than obsessed with Lulu James (from South Shields, what's not to love?!) and I literally can't get this song out of my head. If you haven't heard it, where have you been?


Monday, 29 April 2013

Bernicia Festival 2013

Now, I wasn't at the press launch today, but I can't bloody wait for Bernicia Festival - South Shields' own alternative arts festival happening on 4th August at The Customs House.

As a Shields girl, this is big business for the town. We have so many great artists and bands coming out of the area at the minute and I'm so glad there's a chance to see everyone altogether in one place.

Tickets are free but only on a lottery basis, so make sure you sign-up quick sharp to be in with a chance of seeing South Tyneside's finest Little Comets, Lulu James, Natasha Haws and my mates, Boy Jumps Ship.

Want to see more? Check out KYEO's line-up reveal and new from the press launch.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Warby Parker: Summer 2013 Collection

As a glasses wearer, I am always on the hunt for the chicest pair of specs. And, as the biggest hoarder of sunglasses known to man, as soon as the sun shines, I'm on the case looking for the most brilliant new sunglasses styles to adorn my face with.

So, you can imagine my delight when an email from chic spectacle maker Warby Parker dropped into my inbox.

Their Summer collection launches today, and boy oh boy, do they have some great sunglasses styles to see through through the sunny months and gorgeous new eyeglass shapes to get your hands on.

My favourites? Check these out and head over to Warby Parker to see the full collection.

Warby Parker also run a fantastic initiative whereby if you buy a pair of glasses, they give a pair to someone in need. Head over to to find out more about Buy a Pair, Give a Pair.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Recent Snaps: Feb/March 2013

The last few weeks have been a blur of work, cooking, weddings, running and a lot more.

Here's a snapshot of what's been going down.

Valentine's gifts from Joe - Coco Noir and pretty red roses / a surprise stay at the Malmaison as a Valentine's treat - Joe is a keeper / pretty gin packaging in The Wine Chambers, Tynemouth / Caroline Issa for LK Bennett clutch bag - see my blog post on the collection here / All hail the new issue of fabulous women's magazine, The Gentlewoman featuring non other than Queen Bey / a heart in a morning latte / picture wall at the Harbour Lights / Alvinos cocktail list in cassette tape format / the trial run bake for our Comic Relief Great British Bake Off event at work - my Chorizo & Leek pasties  went down a treat / artwork in the best coffee bar in Newcastle, 9 Bar / the ever-amazing coastline in Tynemouth, 5 minutes from our flat / Defense! / Nail art goodies from Quantum Beauty Company / A new addition to Joe's family - Lottie the beagle / the ace gramophone in the Crown Posada / Pennyhill Park for my cousin's wedding with my sister-in-law Nat; I'm wearing Topshop / Bella my niece doing her flowergirl duties / Forgot-me-not seeds as wedding favours / pretty Spring flowers for centrepieces / a much need health boost in the form of a Leon salad on the train from London / Mama and me...a #latergram  


Thursday, 21 March 2013

& Other Stories

I know, I know: who hasn't blogged about H&M's new brand this week? But, it's all for good reason.

& Other Stories, created by the teams behind the brilliant high-street collections from H&M and Cos, now bring us this new brand. The brand's collections aren't depicted by trends, but 'stories' which will develop each season. They've integrated some brilliant video 'Shop the Story' sequences, showing the clothes on real people (definately where eCommerce is heading) and this week launched their London HQ on Regent Street.

The ready-to-wear clothes, accessories and shoes are the type of staples which you need in your wardrobe; simple colour, shapes and styles. My idea of utter style heaven. Pass me my credit card - here are my picks:

What's your favourite story this season?

256—258 Regent Street
London, W1B 3AF 


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Caroline Issa for LK Bennett

This week, I invited along to one of my favourite department stores, Fenwick Newcastle, to have a sneaky peek at Tank Magazine editor Caroline Issa's limited edition collaboration with LK Bennett.
The capsule collection, comprising of footwear and bags, are absolutely exquisite and so detailed; the craftsmanship is astounding. Issa, inspired by her travels to Thailand, has pair the neutral tones of leather and canvas with hot pink, green, yellow and red embroidery to such beautiful effect. I'll let the images speak for themselves. Absolutely gorgeous.

It's brilliant that we have this collection available to buy in the North East and that brands and retailers are recognising the high demand for these high-end products in the region. Hats off to Fenwick!

Prices for the accessories start at a very reasonable £245 for footwear and £275 for bags - a snip when you think of the craftsmanship involved.

The collection is exclusively available at Fenwick Newcastle and other LK Bennett flagship locations.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Jan/Feb 2013: Some snaps

Tim Walker poster from his brilliant Story Teller exhibition at Somerset House, finally in situ above the bed; Big Sis and me ready for a day out in London town; Heaven in a can; Aesop goodies from Beauty Expert; the best coffee from Ouseburn Coffee Company at Tynemouth Market; old shipping lights in ORA Tynemouth;  Rob Ryan mugs from Joe for our 5 year anniversary <3; the snowy seafront near our flat; gorgeous new wooden blinds in the bedroom; visiting Redhouse in Newcastle for a birthday pie; citizenM Bankside; the fabulous pop-up Chanel beauty store in Covent Garden; lights in citizenM reception area; cocktails and martinis in DUKES London; Sophie Hulme for Globetrotter - want, need, love. 


Monday, 14 January 2013

Boilerhouse Hair - Newcastle, UK

This weekend, I ventured into pretty West Jesmond in Newcastle, to visit Boilerhouse Hair and Beauty Salon, to have my locks chopped. Now, before this appointment, I hadn't had my hair cut for 9 months (yes, very shameful), so a good cut was well overdue.

I arrived about 10 minutes before my appointment and was greeted by two lovely receptionists and Felix, stylist and junior manager, who would be doing my hair.

The ground floor of the salon is relatively small but was a hive of activity, and I was told I'd be having my haircut upstairs. Up the stairs was a light and very spacious first floor of the salon; Felix informed me that Boilerhouse had been through a huge refurb about a year before to transform the space into a luxury treatment environment.

Gorgeous floor length mirrors at every hair station, mock-croc armchairs beneath the hair basins and bespoke furnishings and purpose-built units throughout - everything was perfectly tailored to the salon. My favourite part of the first floor were the cool purpose built shelving units for hair colours and products - it made the salon feel like an old apothecary with shelves bursting with interesting things to look at and try out.

Up the stairs again to the second floor were where Boilerhouse's beauty treatment rooms could be found. The beauty arm to the business has only been in action around a year, but they offer some fantastic treatments and great deals (check out their blog for more info) - I'll be stopping by for Bio Sculpture gel nails when I'm in Jesmond next.

Back down on the first floor, Felix sat me down and of course asked, what I'd like to be done with my hair. Now, I like to be fairly low maintenance when it comes to my hair and haircare, and as I have a few weddings coming up this year, I wanted to keep it long, so thought a tidy and a trim would do the job. We decided to cut about 1/2 inch off the main length just to knock off those dead ends off and tidy up my long layers.

The salon use the Paul Mitchell range of products and over at the basins, my hair was slathered with a gorgeous smelling shampoo and then just the right amount of conditioner to make sure the ends of my hair were in fine fettle. Luckily for me, my hair is in a relatively good condition and very soft by nature, so I don't need too much conditioner, otherwise my blonde hair can look greasy.

After a shampoo, Felix started telling me a bit more about the salon. His parents, Kim and Steve, founded the salon nearly 30 years ago and have built up an incredible business. I learned that all of Boilerhouse's staff are trained in-house - a fantastic brand attribute, meaning that new people coming into the business are immersed in the Boilerhouse brand from day one.

Boilerhouse also provide hair stylists for school and college fashion shows in the Newcastle area, and also compete in many hair shows - their stylists' handywork can be seen here. They also have some interesting hair-styling projects lined up with a local university, which I'm interested to see the results in - watch this space.

Once the cut was done, I told Felix I really struggled getting texture into my hair. My hair is naturally poker straight (not as great as it sounds), so he suggested a liberal amount of Paul Mitchell Sea Salt Spray, followed by drying my hair with a large diffuser. Having never tried the diffuser before, I wasn't sure what the results would be but Felix assured my hair would have volume, texture and a subtle wave from the sea salt spray. He carefully spent a good 20-25 minutes drying my hair with the diffuser and the effects were bloody brilliant; my hair had a brilliant beachy texture, which I always find so hard to achieve and Felix made it seem effortless - I will definitely be investing in a diffuser to ensure I can achieve this look at home.

After a quick look in the mirror, I was set to go armed with tips on how to give my hair texture and body. Want to check out my 'do after a bit more primping and preening for a night out? Head over to my Instagram for more. 

Fancy trying out Boilerhouse for yourself? 
Find them on Twitter - @BoilerhouseHair, on Facebook - BoilerhouseHair and online at

You can check out their hair and beauty services online, and book yourself in for an appointment - I can highly recommend Felix; he listened to exactly what I wanted and made some great suggestions on how to style my hair going forward. What a gem. 

Boilerhouse Hair and Beauty Salon
Acorn Road

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