Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Review: London Retro Loren glasses

sophia loren london retro glasses direct

Like a trillion other people on this planet, I have a thing for old Hollywood. That beauty forever embalmed in the amber of a black and white portrait, that film star youth preserved in films for eternity.

Follow Lottie | Oyster & Pearl's board Dudes | Heroes & Heroines on Pinterest.

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to the snapshots of stars I admire, from the golden age and more recently, from the worlds of film, music and art. One of my favourites is the picture above, of Sophia Loren. Those eyes! That mouth! Those eyebrows!

The latter inspired the name of my new spectacles, no doubt. These Loren glasses, with their dark frames and leopard arms, mirror the arch of a brow and sprinkle me with the tiniest whisper of glamour, for which I am always grateful. Head over to Glasses Direct to see the lovely ranges they offer, and try before you buy - you can order four frames for a free home trial to see what suits you, then order easily and quickly online from a range of designer glasses.

Which would you choose?

glasses direct london retro loren
Thanks to Glasses Direct for supplying me with a pair of glasses for the purpose of this review.


Sunday, 26 April 2015

An Oxford blogger meet

Bimbling with bloggers is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a day. Add to the mix a picturesque location, a delicious lunch, and the unexpected arrival of a fifth blogger, and Saturday’s blogger meet in Oxford was pretty much perfect.

Kat, Heather, Karen and I regularly get together for snapping and chatting - you can read about our previous adventures here, here and here - but it’s been a while since we last met.

Having just bought a new camera, I was desperate to get out in the sunshine and get snapping. ISO maxed to 100 thanks to the bright sunshine, we wandered the streets taking pictures of the beautiful architecture, endless blue sky/pink blossom combinations, and the unexpected arrival of every morris dancer in the UK (or so it seemed).

Natasha spotted that we were in Oxford thanks to a Kat tweet, and we arranged to meet. The five of us poked about in funny little shops (including that most beautiful of home stores, Objects of Use), bookshops, and gossiped in cafes. Life has been a little stressful recently, so to hang with blogging buddies on a bright spring day made me forget my troubles for a while. Sunny days are on their way.

Friday, 24 April 2015

A trip to London for the HP Instant Ink Print Party

HP Instant Ink Print Party | Oyster and Pearl UK family/lifestyle blog
HP Instant Ink Print Party | Oyster and Pearl UK family/lifestyle blog
HP Instant Ink Print Party | Oyster and Pearl UK family/lifestyle blog
HP Instant Ink Print Party | Oyster and Pearl UK family/lifestyle blog
HP Instant Ink Print Party | Oyster and Pearl UK family/lifestyle blog
HP Instant Ink Print Party | Oyster and Pearl UK family/lifestyle blog
HP Instant Ink Print Party | Oyster and Pearl UK family/lifestyle blog

A few weeks back we were invited to head for the big smoke to a special bloggers' party hosted by HP (not the sauce, the printer peeps). The boys and I travelled up by train, noses pressed up to the window as the fields whooshed by, and sped across town in a black taxi cab. I think my kids would've been quite happy if that had been our London experience, but much more fun ensued.

We arrived at Maggie and Rose in Kensington, the most beautiful kid-friendly venue I've ever been to, for lunch and a bit of dressing up in the photo booth. T was dressed in his skeleton costume, which made him very easy to spot among the rest of the blog kiddos. Before long, the activities began. HP’s resident ink expert, Thom Brown, explained all about the amazing science behind original HP Ink, and the kids had fun looking through a lens at the tiny dots of ink that make up a printed photograph. Optical illusions, colour mixing, and drawing sessions kept little ones occupied all afternoon.

Back home, we took delivery of our HP ENVY printer and Instant Ink (ensuring we'll never be left without ink again - the ink is delivered straight to the door before you even know you’re running low, and the scheme allows savings of up to 70% on cartridges), and begin putting our new-found knowledge into action. The first pic to be printed was one of a fruit bat - T's all-time favourite animal - and it came out perfectly. More and more photos were printed by my children, who found the printer's touchscreen interface a doddle to use. Have a look and see what made it to our fridge door.

Want to join in? Mobile phones are full of our latest, spontaneous pics of our kids but often that’s where they stay - stuck and imprisoned on our device. If you look around your kitchen, on the fridge or noticeboard, how up to date are the pictures you see? How many of us still have pics of our kids as babies or toddlers on our fridge, when our little ones are long past the baby stage? It’s time to Free Your Pics! Tweet a pic using the hashtag #HPFreeYourPics; together we can update the nation's fridges!

Disclosure: we were compensated for this post.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Five reads for April

I Used to Be in Pictures: An Untold Story of Hollywood

Born in Surrey, England in 1972, twins Austin and Howard Mutti-Mewse were raised in a household that enjoyed classic black-and-white Hollywood movies, and aged 12, the pair enthusiastically began writing to their on-screen legends. Many responded with heartfelt, handwritten notes and signed pictures, with Lillian Gish the first actor to reply. The so-called First Lady of American Cinema was entranced by the twins’ “Englishness” and was followed by Katharine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra and Shirley Temple. Letters soon turned into invites for tea, and the twins made their first visit to Hollywood in 1992, long after the demise of the much-loved studio system. Over a decade later, the twins—who continue to keep in contact with surviving stars—compiled their treasured findings in the book, I Used to be in Pictures. Heavens to Betsy, have you ever heard of a more amazing book?

The Paying Guests

Sarah Waters' latest novel has just been nominated for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Our latest book group read, The Paying Guests is a tale of two women who fall in love in the twenties, one of my favourite eras. The description of the chemistry between the two lead characters and the way in which their relationship develops is particularly worth reading.

Yes Please

Amy Poehler, what a dude. Yes Please is a memoir but done Amy's way (which is, of course, the best way one could ever approach a 'celebrity' memoir) - with exceptional humour and aching honesty. If you don't know it already, Amy's Smart Girls site is also brilliant.

Man's Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust

Doesn't sound that promising, does it? Nothing could be further from the truth. Viktor Frankl, a Viennese psychiatrist before the war, used his time in the concentration camp to observe human behaviour under the most extreme circumstances. He used this to refine his theory of psychotherapy, known as logotherapy, which focuses on the meaning of human existence as well as on a person's search for such meaning, and the consequent purpose. Frankl says that 'the meaning of life always changes, but... it never ceases to be', and that we really find ourselves when we find it.

Lost My Name

The cutest pair of books arrived on our doorstep the other day. The Little Boy Who Lost His Name tells the story of a child who has lost his name, and bravely sets off to track down the missing letters. Along the way he meets lots of weird and wonderful characters, who each give the first letter of their name. My two were enchanted.

What are you reading?

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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Wishlist: Outdoor living

It’s that time of year - the clocks going forward mean evenings are light and long, and I long for warmth and fresh air. It’s time to spruce up the garden and get things ready for outdoor living. I have my eye on a few accessories for picnicking and parties, as well as eating outside and just a bit of lazing around in the sun (in feline fashion).

So, I’m after some outdoor furniture - a table and chairs, a rug, a deckchair or two, plus lighting and pots and pots full of pretty sweet peas, geraniums, and lavender. Add a blanket and candles for when the sun goes down (sundowners are always a good idea), and I’ll be set for summer. Here’s what’s on my wishlist.

1. Tolix style dining chair, Lakeland Furniture
2. Alaska picnic blanket, Urbanara
3. Wooden deckchair, Tesco
4. Fiesta string lights, Cox and Cox
5. Vindalso trolley, IKEA
6. Fluted zinc planters, Cox and Cox
7. Folding bistro table, Tesco (as above)
8. Natural picnic basket, Habitat
9. Nipprig sofa, IKEA
10. Montana ceramic plant pot, Habitat
11. Sundero lounger, IKEA
12. Attica outdoor rug, Habitat

Head over to Pinterest for a glimpse of my dream garden in this Outdoor living board.

Follow Lottie | Oyster & Pearl's board Outdoor living on Pinterest.

This is the third in my trio of seasonal Easter posts. Read the first and second here.
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