Archive of ‘News’ category

Savour the moment… The weekend series | Part eight

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// Title image by Fashion and Style //

How are you finding the spring evenings and the longer days? I finally feel as if I’m coming out of hibernation, but still very much in need of some down time, extra time in bed on a Sunday morning fuelled by tea and LOTS of breakfast food.

Last Sunday morning I was recovering from a very muddy Rough Runner  (hence the lack of post), but this weekend I’m grateful that there is no crazy obstacle course ahead of me, no mud to wade through and no ice cold water to fall in. Although, our Sunday brunch at Cote Brasserie certainly made up for it (their French toast comes highly recommended). This weekend however, I’ll be catching up on some much needed blog reading and tea drinking.

What about you? What are your plans for the weekend?

The amazing and super talented, Zanita (if you’ve ever watched Fashion Bloggers on E! then you’ll know who I’m talking about) has written a post on cleaning your make-up brushes. And, as banal as it might seem, a clean make-up brush is essential if you want healthy skin (and brushes). Never underestimate the power of a good, clean make-up brush!

As sad as it sounds, my bed is my happy place. On my first date, with my now husband, he asked me where was my favourite place to be in the world, the place that made me happiest, and I said ‘Tucked up in bed’. It’s still true now. It’s the place I feel calmest, safest and it’s where I do most of my good (and bad) thinking. I love this post on ‘How to turn your bedroom into your happy place’ by Advice from a twenty something. Pillows, blankets and candles are certainly essentials.

I love the idea of a spring reading spot … and I can’t wait to get stuck into some of the books on this list by Lobster and Swan.

A fab post by the beautiful and extremely articulate, Monica of The Elgin Avenue, has definitely helped me this week. An open, honest and true account of dealing with stressful thought patterns – and jam packed with good advice and top tips.  Certainly one to read, digest and put into action.

And finally, a mouth-watering post by Media Marmalade on gluten free comfort food. Just look at those pictures! I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.

I hope you all have a great weekend, whatever you’re doing.


Ciara sign off

In review | LORD – The art of hair


At the end of November last year, a stylish and unique hair salon opened on City Road. Tom Ferry and Jamie Holder, who between them have over 26 years of hairdressing experience, opened the doors to LORD.

Jamie, a wintonian through and through, and Tom who has worked in hair salons in Winchester for almost 17 years, have created a space that puts their clients at the heart of what they do. I was lucky enough to be invited in for a blow dry (and a glass of wine) to chat about what LORD, hairdressing, and Winchester means to them.


From the second you step foot into LORD you can see that appearance and quality matters. Tom and Jamie have taken time to select the interiors for their salon by hand, along with Matt Blake (cabinet maker and carpenter) opting for high quality and eco friendly materials and first class salon products.

When asked what the ethos behind LORD was they both have the same answer – “It’s about our clients”, Tom says, “We wouldn’t be here without them and we’re lucky that wherever we go our clients come with us. We wanted to create something that we were proud of and a place we felt our clients deserved.

“For us it’s about offering our clients much more for their money. It’s not just about the quality of their hair cut, it’s about the surroundings, the coffee we serve and the products we use.”

One of the points made by Jamie is that it’s about that personal touch, going beyond the small talk and really “getting to know your clients, what they like, whether they like to sit and have a chat or whether they just want to relax in peace and quiet.”

So why would two young and stylish guys choose to open a salon in Winchester? Well, for Jamie it’s about his hometown, “I’m born and bred here and Winchester is where I want to be. Always. I have a passion for hairdressing and a love for Winchester and I’ve been able to combine the two things in LORD.

” It definitely feels different to your atypical salon. No one is treated as ‘Jamie’s client’ or ‘Tom’s client’ they’re all clients of LORD and from the moment you walk in your experience starts, not just from when you sit down in the chair (which by the way, are extremely comfortable). And, the team has grown since it first opened its doors. Dawn Robinson is the latest member of LORD and comes armed with a huge range of hairdressing qualifications.


When asked what hair care tips were essential Tom and Jamie stress the importance of a decent salon shampoo, “PH neutral, sulphate free and no palm oil, especially if you want to keep your colour in good condition” says Jamie. “Also, the importance of a regular hair cut to help keep your locks looking healthy.”

And as for the latest trends? Ombre and balayage are high contenders for the latest look, putting the fact that you don’t have to have your roots done every six weeks as the reason why it’s so popular. Jamie also mentioned that a lot of people, especially the younger generation, are opting for silver and ash hair – so grey is in! And which famous tresses would they like to get their hands on? In keeping with the royal theme Jamie would opt for Kate Middleton, choosing to give her an updated yet classic look and Tom, well he’d quite like to get his hands on Caroline Flack’s hair!

If you want the true salon experience and to be treated like royalty then we suggest you book an appointment with LORD. These guys really know hair, from the latest trends to the best classic cuts. Lord is open Tuesday – Friday from 10am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 9am-5pm (Thursday evenings till 8pm). To book an appointment call 01962 813333. LORD, 19 City Road, Winchester.

Savour the moment… The weekend series | Part seven

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The long weekend is here, finally, and whether you’ve packed it full of chores, a bit of life admin and some family time or you’re just planning on taking it easy and eating l-ots of chocolate, here’s a bit of weekend reading to indulge in.

City Life (my local lifestyle newspaper in collaboration with We Are Winchester) is out now. And, if you’re not local to Winchester then you can download a copy here.

One of my favourite bloggers, Monica of The Elgin Avenue, has a fab post about what to do over the long weekend. Sadly I’ve failed already at the tech break but I am taking some time out to give myself a mini appraisal! Sometimes you need a little time to take stock, see where you’re at, what’s working and what’s not.

Spring and Easter is always a time for a bit of reflection – something about the extra time off from ‘real life’ and the change in season makes it feel like the right point to slow things down and focus. This great post by the lovely ladies at Hero (the most beautiful shop in Stockbridge, if you’re yet to visit I suggest that’s one thing for your list this weekend) is all about concentrating on personal values over the Easter weekend. Right you are, ladies.

With breakfast being my favourite, one of my favourite meals of the day, I was pretty happy when I stumbled across this amazing blog. Chances are, I’ll never make quinoa for breakfast, nor will quinoa ever be a treat, but the pictures alone are something to be admired.

I love having people to stay, and Easter weekend will be no exception. I’m always looking for little ways to make our guests feel welcome and one of my favourite bloggers (Cupcakes and Cashmere) has plenty of tips on how to make our future guests feel right at home.

I hope you all have a fabulous long weekend – and don’t forget, that the clocks spring forward today! You might lose an hour but it’s worth it for those longer days ahead.

Happy Easter.

Ciara sign off

In review | A seat at The King’s table

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to stay for a night to review The King’s Head in Hursley, a mere few minutes from Winchester city centre. So, on a sunny Thursday evening myself and the husband headed down after work to relax, unwind, and sample a little of what The King’s Head had to offer.


On arrival, the super friendly Amelia Thornhill (it’s Amelia’s parents who currently run the pub) showed us to our room. Well, when I say room I actually mean suite. We were staying in The Spitfire suite, located to the side of the building (split over two floors with oak beams and plenty of character) it was the perfect place to retreat to for a bit of time out.


The pub, which has been under new management in the last year by The Epicurian Times, is certainly fit for a king. The eight rooms are all decorated in their own style, from rooms with four-poster beds and free-standing baths to a cosy single room, complete with shower room.

But, by far the best part about The King’s Head, in our opinion, is the food. And, if you’re a foodie who loves local produce then you’re in for a treat. Award-winning Jenny Jones and her sous-chef, Matthew Heaven showed us just why The King’s Head has recently been awarded an AA Rosette for culinary excellence and 4 silver stars for the hotel. The locally-sourced menu made it hard to choose but we opted for the duck terrine with heritage beetroot to start and the potted salmon with Alresford watercress and lemon jelly.


Beautifully presented, every mouthful was as good as the next. And, for main we chose the braised Hampshire beef and ale pie with creamy mash and the sea bass with tiger prawns and smoked haddock and spring onion cake, full of flavour and the portions were more than generous.


The decadent dessert of sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce and ice cream had to be shared and all washed down with a crisp, dry bottle of pinot grigio. It’s safe to say you’ll be in food heaven.

The service from Amelia and her team was impeccable; attentive, on the ball, and without fault. And with an amazing resume from the likes of Gordan Ramsay and Marco Pierre White, it was clear to see Amelia’s passion for great food and excellent service.


Breakfast was included and is served in the beautiful dining room. From fruit, cereal, granola and juice to a made-to-order breakfast, dependent on whether you can eat anything else after dinner from the night before, there was as much choice for breakfast as their was for dinner.

Needless to say, the hubby and I were pretty reluctant to leave The King’s Head and will certainly be planning a stay-cation there in the near future.

To find out more head to their website or call 01962 775 08 to book your stay or table.

Savour the moment… The weekend series | Part six

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//Title image from Adventures in Cooking//

Spring is here! And this time next week we’ll be treated to longer days again (I know I certainly could do with some more hours of daylight).

With issue three of City Life (my local lifestyle newspaper in Winchester) finally going to print, my spare time can go back to my favourite focus, Tea and Toast. And, with that in mind, I can resume normality with my weekend series and a bit of downtime with some blog reading.

Hopefully you’re having a great weekend, and getting a chance to relax and unwind.

Happy reading.

The wonderful, Jenna Shaw from The Country Girl Bible blog, popped into my husband’s shop last week and wrote a rather great post about who he is and what he does. It’s been lovely seeing his business from different eyes… and a nice reminder for him that all his hard work doesn’t go unnoticed!

I’ve fallen in love with the blog, Growing Spaces. I can’t wait to catch up on so many of her amazing and beautifully photographed posts. And, as a Marie Kondo wonderer myself, it’s been great to read her views and thoughts on the KonMarie concept and to grab a few other must-reads along the way.

So many spring blooms in this blog post by Chapter Friday, that you can’t help but feel pretty positive. Home doesn’t feel quite right until there are vases dotted around with beautiful flowers in them.

In answer to the question in this blog I’d have to say ‘yes’! (a digital detox, amongst other kinds of detox, food, skin, tea, alcohol… the list goes on). How do you feel about a digital detox? Sometimes I think it would be so good for our minds, as well as the relationships we have with people around us, to just be able to properly switch off and power down. I’ll let you know if  when I give it a try. 

And finally, it wouldn’t be weekend reading without a little eating and indulgence. These fab desserts only have five ingredients. Fool proof, right? Clean eaters, look away now.


Ciara sign off

Savour the moment… The weekend series | Part five 


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//Title image from The Odyssey Online//

Another week has passed us by, but the *slightly* lighter evenings are making me feel less like I want to curl up and hibernate and a little more like I want to get out and explore. Although, Sunday mornings are an exception.

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend and making the most of it?

Happy reading.

Spot-on advice from the super wise Media Marmalade on how to turn your passions into a career. It’s made me feel all kinds of inspired. I just wish there were more hours in the day.

I love reading anything that will give me sound business advice or encourage me to be better (drink less, do more, watch less – that kind of better!). I can’t wait to read the ebook, mentioned on Career Girl Daily, about how to stop procrastinating. If it were a sport I’d have a gold medal for sure.

Pinterest is a great tool for putting an outfit together, or realising that you don’t need *have* to go shopping and this blog post explains how and why.

The images in this blog are beautiful and so perfectly styled (snapped by the super talented blogger and photographer, Marlene Lee from Chocolate Cookies and Candies) it’s made me want to rush out and buy the rectangular marble board from The White Company. I’m not quite sure exactly what I’ll use it for, but I don’t need an excuse, right?

Breakfast food is the best in my opinion, and the weekend gives you a bit more time to create something super yummy and super healthy; making weekend breakfast food the VERY best. That chocolate overnight smoothie!!

And, if you’re still in bed then this post on Decor Envy will make you want to stay there just a little longer.  How cosy are these pictures? Winter bedding is just too inviting. An extra cup of tea in bed never hurt anyone.

I hope you all have a fab weekend!

Ciara sign off


Savour the moment… The weekend series | Part four

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// Image: Pinterest: Flourishing Foodie //

I hope you’re waking up to a weekend of great plans, good coffee/tea and time out with friends and loved ones. It’s the most romantic weekend of the year, right?

Well, whilst you’re (hopefully) cosied up in bed, I’ve been out on a frosty golf course ready to ‘have a swing’ at my first lesson (it’s for a feature for a local newspaper, before you ask).

I hope you have a great weekend and savour lots of lovely *romantic* moments.

Happy reading.

I’m a bit interiors obsessed and it’s getting worse. I love having a nose in other peoples homes (probably the ex-estate agent in me).  A great post on Lauren Conrad’s blog, 3 reasons why #LoveisHome 

If only every afternoon could be spent on doing the things that make us feel inspired *sigh*. But there are certainly a couple of things in this blog post from The Simply Luxurious Life that we could all try to do every now and then.

One of my favourite bloggers, Cider with Rosie, has blogged about 10 things that have made her happy this week. Pancakes, snowdrops and daffodils are certainly up there on my list too.

Swooning over more interiors in this fabulous post by beauty and lifestyle blogger, Kate Lavie – Shelf styling is fast becoming my new obsession.

And on that note, thanks Red Magazine for adding to that obsession. High street shops are rocking the interiors.

Happy Valentine’s Day, guys.
Ciara sign off

A weekend in the city

Some of my favourite kind of weekends are the ones spent close to home, unplanned and stress-free. No need to drive in traffic, no need to spend a morning packing, no need to formulate great plans.

Last year was a pretty busy year to say the least. If we weren’t attending the wedding of one of our lovely friends we were planning our own, so weekends got eaten up very quickly.   2016 is already a lot slower paced with no hen do’s, stag do’s, wedding planning or panicking in sight. And as much as I loved (almost) every second of last year, it’s nice to have a chance to breathe and do some of the little things I’ve been itching to do for a long time.

One of my favourite ways to while away a weekend is to spend it in my hometown of Winchester. Winchester is a pretty special place in my opinion, and ideal for a relaxing weekend of eating, drinking, and general mooching around.

Here’s my idea of the perfect weekend…


If not spent at home (with breakfast being made by the husband) I like to pick up a stack of papers and head out. Some of our favourite breakfast haunts are Cote brasserie and the St James Tavern on the Romsey Road. Hours can be lost catching up on what’s going on in the world/blog world, drinking endless pots of tea and indulging in all kinds of breakfast food – breakfast food is probably my favourite of all food. And yes, we look like one of those really anti-social couples who go out for breakfast but sit there ignoring each other whilst reading the paper.



To burn off our breakfast a walk is usually in order – armed with another cup of tea (usually from the Bridge Patisserie) we’ll walk past the weirs, out along the river and through the water meadows. If we’re feeling energetic then a walk up St Catherine’s Hill is in order (on even more energetic days my husband loves to tell me how we’ll feel SO much better if we don our trainers and run up it; I’m still not convinced).


Wander around town 

If I get my way then the husband gets packed off to the pub to watch the football (kicking and screaming of course) and I spend a few hours looking in my favourite shops – The Consortium – great for quirkily furniture, cushions, throws and clothes, The Hambledon – perfect for candles, home interiors and lush stationery, The White Company, Mint Velvet and probably a pit stop at M&S to pick up the kind of food you can only indulge in on the weekend.

Dinner and drinks 

One of my favourite to do in the world to do is to go out for dinner (accompanied with friends/family/my husband/myself, and a few drinks).


I find it hard to choose a favourite place to eat out in Winchester (we’re lucky that we have quite a few restaurants that serve great, local produce – and I’m pretty big on eating local produce). With that in mind, I’d have to say that my hotspots are River Cottage and The Corner House or Green Man and The SJT… I could keep going.  Drinks at The Mucky Duck to begin and then finished off with cocktails in Greens or Number 5.

And there you have it, the makings of a perfect day in Winchester. Not forgetting, home in time for a cuppa in bed – bliss.

Savour the moment… The weekend series | Part three

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Good morning! Another week has flown past and January, along with its blues and dryness, is finally a thing of the past. And, as I wake up to yet another delightful glass of aloe vera juice (I’m currently on a cleanse) with not a mug of tea in sight, I hope you’re starting your Sunday with something a little more indulgent!

This week I had the absolute delight and pleasure to enjoy a cuppa with the wonderful and witty blogger, Marlene, of Chocolate Cookies & Candies. A resident of Winchester (and would probably shame all Wintonians with her knowledge of local history), born in Borneo and processed in New Zealand (as her Instagram bio firmly states) her blog post on the ‘27 things I’ve learned in the UK‘ is beyond apt.

Post-cleanse I can’t wait to try this yummy recipe for kale pasta by A Beautiful Mess. Time to give the Jamie Oliver pasta maker its first outing.

This weekend (to keep my mind off eating everything in sight) I’ve been trying to put my Marie Kondo knowledge into practice. And with the days getting longer (ish), I’m heavily in my spring cleaning mode. Check out Marie Kondo showcasing her highly unique folding method. And whilst we’re on the subject, I’ll be giving a full post-KonMarie update to let you know exactly how I got on with ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’!

And finally, another beautiful post from The Online Stylist. I’ve been making the most of a clean house, fresh flowers and new candles this weekend. Plenty of ways to Elevate the Everyday.

Hope you have a great Sunday.

Happy reading.
Ciara sign off

Savour the moment… The weekend series | Part two

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Hello weekend… I’ve missed you.

Looking forward to catching up on lots of reading, tea drinking, wine sipping and cuddles with my brand-new niece. Perfect. What are you up to this weekend? Whatever you’re doing I hope you get a chance to take five minutes and have a read of some of the blog posts and articles I’ve been reading this week. Arm yourself with plenty of tea/coffee/mimosas (it’s breakfast juice, right?) and relax. It’s the weekend after all.

A blog post about tea by The Online Stylist, one of my favourite bloggers, was exactly what I needed on a Wednesday. I couldn’t agree more about taking five minutes to stare out the window whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. I love those daydream moments.

In need of a little ‘pick-me’ up break with Mr B and Cowley Manor is certainly on the list. The fabulous Poppy Loves has been blogging about her Cotswolds adventure and it’s really sold it to me. Time to get planning. Time for some extreme decadence.

Something I shared on my Facebook page this week was a link to an article on Stylist magazine, about how happiness comes from the small moments in life. Everyone can try one of these and make a little time to include some happiness-making moments into their week.

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day! How and why people skip it is beyond me. And one of my favourite kinds of breakfast is my overnight oats. I’m always looking for new recipes and the amazing Beautiful Mess girls have some on their blog (I’ll be sure to share mine on here too).

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend. I’m off to put the kettle on.

Happy reading.

Ciara sign off

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