Bonjour bonjour! I arrived in the Dordogne Valley on Wednesday afternoon, and am here until Saturday afternoon exploring the area with the Brive Tourism Board! It’s totally beautiful here- lush and green, with the most charming centuries-old villages dotted here and there throughout the valley. We spent most of the past day and a half in the countryside, and now have moved across into Brive itself. So far, the trip’s involved food, more food, wine, more wine, and…rockclimbing. Yep. You read that right. I climbed a mountain. Strapped into a harness, attached via two little carabiners to a safety rope, and clambering up a sheer rock face. It was totally terrifying (I did have an actual panic at one point and couldn’t work out how to breathe, let alone how to pull myself up giant vertical rocks!), and also exhilarating, and then terrifying some more. It also made the next glass of wine we drank that day oh so necessary for post-climbing relaxation! ;) I’ll be sharing more from the trip next week, so watch this space! In the meanwhile, here’s a round up of all the tiny stuff that’s made this week so far a lovely one…

1. Tasting so much incredible French wine! I never, ever would’ve thought I’d be enjoying wine as much as I am- up until maybe about 18 months ago, the closest I came to drinking wine was the occasional glass of super sweet rose! Guess my palette has *finally* started to grow up!

2. Having enough points on my Boots card to pick up the Essie polish I’d been angling after. S C O R E.

3. Writing Jason the notes I always leave him to read each evening when I’m out of the country. It’s my most favourite of all our traditions (he keeps them all, too!)

4. Snapchat! I swore I’d not succumb to using a new form of social media, but lo and behold…I did. Find me at ciderwithrosieb, if you fancy following along with the nonsense…

5. Taking Jason out for surprise drinks at Pennyhill Park on Tuesday evening. Wednesday marked exactly one year since he proposed to me in Edinburgh (can you even believe it’s been a year already!), and so because I flew to France on Wednesday so wouldn’t be around to mark the occasion at all, I surprised him with a trip to Pennyhill’s beautiful bar for drinks on the Tuesday night. It was so fun sneaking around and totally catching him unawares! I also had the best passionfruit mojito of my life, which was made it all the more fantastic.

6. Getting RSVPs through the post!

7. Conversations about wedding stuff that go like something like this ‘how about this thing, or this, or this?’ ‘I hate that first thing, and I’m indifferent to those other two things, so just order whichever you fancy.’ We’ve got the whole low-key, low-maintenance wedding planning thing down to an art ;)

8. Driving along in the sunshine, listening to Mumford & Sons and Vance Joy and Haim. Feels so very summery, it makes my heart sing.

9. Lunch with Jason and my Godparents last weekend. We went to collect our wedding rings from the jewellers, then on to lunch at Cote in Guildford. My hands were shaking so much trying on my wedding ring in the jewellers, I can’t even imagine what it’ll be like on the day itself!

10. Chocolate fondant puddings. Maybe I ate two this week. Maybe not. You’ll just never know…

Since I’ve been (and am still!) away most of this week, I’ve not had chance to read all that much. Instead of me linking to posts I’ve read and loved, will you link me to posts you’ve either read and enjoyed, or written and are proud of? Let’s have a ‘show and tell’ in the comments!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Posted in 10 THINGS

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Here’s what’s made me tick during the past month and a half…

B E A U T Y ::


Urban Decay Nakd Basics 2 palette – £23

Like I said a couple of weeks ago, I basically only bought this palette after becoming totally and completely obsessed with the incredible matte eye makeup looks worn by Julianna Margulies in The Good Wife. I’d bought the Urban Decay Nakd I palette about two or three years ago and have ‘hit pan’ (as say those who actually know what they’re talking about when it comes to beauty) on the two matte nude colours, whilst the rest are practically untouched. Enter the Basics II palette! The colours in this palette are all super creamy, cool-toned mattes (bar the palest highlighter shade, which does have a slight sheen), and create the most dreamy, barely-there eye makeup looks. I’m totally in love. And basically a clone of Alicia Florrick too now, right?! ;)


L’Oreal Skin Perfection 15 Second Cleansing Oil – £7.99

I ran out of my usual cleanser one evening a few weeks ago, and so in a moment of desperation, dug out the bottle of L’Oreal cleansing oil I knew I had lingering at the back of the cupboard. And then I used it, and choruses of angels began to sing and a ray of light shone down from the heavens. Okay, not quite, but it still was pretty sublime! I’m not sure what’s changed in the past year or so since I bought this cleanser, used it a couple of times, then pushed it aside in favourite of micellar water, but all of a sudden it’s working a treat for my skin. You rub the oil into dry skin (and all over your eyes, too), then wash it off with warm water to get rid of every last scrap of makeup in a single go. It’s been leaving my skin feeling so soft and moisturised, the texture of the dryer skin on my cheeks is 100x better, and my makeup’s going on smoother each morning. Total miracle product!

W E A R ::


French Sole India nude ballet pumps – £85

Say hello to the world’s most impractical shoe choice for a woman who lives with a perpetually slightly-muddy spaniel!

Impracticality aside, nude ballet flats are my forever favourites, especially during spring. I’ve got a couple of pairs on the go right now, plus a pair of nude LK Bennett wedges that’re my staple ‘I bought a new dress for this wedding/party/event and forgot to get shoes to go with it and now I’ve got to leave the house in thirty seconds’ saviours! The ballet pink tone of the French Sole pair pictured couldn’t be more perfect if you ask me, and the leg-lengthening magic of a good pair of nude shoes can’t be sniffed at. Now, if only I could find a way of making them scuff-proof…

D R I N K ::


Peanut butter & banana protein smoothies

Remember when I took that class at Barry’s Bootcamp a few weeks ago? The one so hard I thought my head might explode? Yep? Well, at Barry’s, they run this great system that allows you to place an order for a protein shake of your choice on your way in to class, and they’ll have it ready and waiting for you to start sipping on as soon as you’re done with your workout. The shakes they make are so delicious, full of good ingredients, and the added protein is supposed to feed and help nourish the growth of your muscles. All good stuff! I’ve been having a go at recreating the ‘Simply Peanut Butter’ shake I’d drunk at Barry’s, and think I’m pretty much there with the recipe.

Just put one ripe banana into a blender, add in teaspoon of whole peanut butter (not the kind with added sugar/salt), a scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use one of Jason’s, I think the brand is Nutritia?), cover over with almond milk, blend, and serve over ice! I’ve been drinking it after morning workouts, and also sans-protein powder just for quick breakfasts too!

 D O ::


Crossword puzzles

I’ve mentioned this a couple of times before, but recently we (my equally dorky and total soulmate finance and I) have been doing crosswords in place of reading before lights-out during the past couple of months, and I’d forgotten how much I love it as a pastime. I inherited a love for those giant, simple crosswords you find in puzzle books from my Grandma, and Jason and I have done them on and off for years. It’s not the coolest or most fashionable of activities, granted, but as a way of switching off your inner monologue right before bed, it can’t be beaten. I also think it’s so much more sociable than lying side by side reading books…and you get to be competitive, which is always a bonus if you ask Jason and I ;)

And that’s a wrap! What’ve you been loving throughout the past few weeks?

Posted in MOST LOVED

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CiderwithRosie-London Tate-Britain-CiderwithRosie CIder-with-Rosie-try-this Tate-Britain-London   Cider-with-Rosie-art-gallery-London tate-britain-coloured-silks-piece-CiderwithRosie tate-britain-coloured-silks-exhibition-CiderwithRosie

Some might say that the very best thing about spring, aside from cherry blossom (of course), is the frequency with which bank holiday weekends roll around throughout April and May. And I’d have to say that I wholeheartedly agree!

There’s nothing that can top the joy of shutting down your laptop on the last working day before a bank holiday weekend, knowing that three (or four, if we’re lucky!) beautifully long, sunny (if we’re really, really lucky) days are stretching out ahead of us. Alongside all the BBQing and home-sprucing and dates with friends during those long spring weekends, my Mum and I (sometimes with my sister, too) always book in a day in London visiting the art galleries and museums.

I’m up in London lots these days, and the Plan Of Attack usually centres around food. Or shopping. Or food AND shopping. Which is never a bad thing, of course, but every once in a while it’s so lovely to wave goodbye to Regent Street or the King’s Road or Covent Garden, and head in search of a little quiet culture instead. It’s a tradition we’ve kept up or years now, these gallery-hopping days. We to head into town early one morning, stop for coffee on the way, and then spend our time wandering from one gallery to another.

{Try…Tate Britain.}

On the sliding scale of art galleries in London, with absolute Classicism at one end and Modernism at the other, Tate Britain falls somewhere in the middle. There are beautiful classical paintings, and modern sculptures, and right now, my favourite piece from the day, there’s a soundscape of bird calls called ‘Something Going On Above My Head’ being used to fill the main entryway of the gallery itself (pictured first in the post).

There’s an incredible exhibition running at Tate Britain at the moment of Turner’s paintings, that showcases the variety and scope of his work. It explains a little about his painting techniques too- he apparently used to work on several canvases at once, and would build up several paintings at once colour by colour. It’s fascinating and well worth a visit (as are those beautiful dip-dyed silk hangings pictured above).

Saatchi-gallery-Cider-with-Rosie Saatchi-Hermes-Flaneur-exhibition Hermes-Saatchi Saatchi-Hermes-Flaneur-exhibition2 Hermes-Saatchi-exhibition

{Try…the Saatchi Gallery.}

For a little contrast to all things classical, try the Saatchi Gallery on the Duke of York Square. It’s full of the type of art that’s most divisive- I heard at least three people scoffing and saying ‘this isn’t art!’ whilst we were there! One of them may or may not have been my own Mum…

But! As much as it’s easier to appreciate the artistry or a classic piece by Turner or Constable, I do really enjoy looking at Modern art. I find that, because it’s often immersive, it holds my attention far longer than a painting can. There’s an exhibition running at the moment by Hermes, called ‘Wonderland’. It explores the concept of ‘Flanerie’, the art of wandering.

A quote from Pierre-Alexander Dumas (Hermes’ Artistic Director) says ‘Through flanerie, time is not lost, it is rediscovered! [...] Flaneurs garner, forage and gather. They unearth the unusual in the mundane, the unnoticed in the already seen, the distant in the near, the visible in the invisible.’

The exhibition guides you through a series of rooms that feature light displays, music, video, graffiti, visual displays, and pieces from Hermes themselves. Because it’s such a rich visual feast and a totally multi-sensory and immersive experience, I found myself wandering through at snail’s pace trying to take in every single detail. And I think the concept of ‘flanerie’ is easily my favourite thing I’ve learnt so far this year!

‘Wanderland’ runs until the 2nd May at the Saatchi Gallery, SW3 4RY.

{Past seasonal ‘To Dos’}
Try this :: practise a skill.
Try this :: festive baking.
Try this :: get lost in the countryside.
Try this :: have a hot chocolate picnic.

p.s. If you do happen to get sidetracked and pop into the shops on the Duke of York Sq during your day of culture, don’t feel guilty. Even the best of us can’t resist the lure of Zara and Banana Republic during summer dress season…

 p.p.s. What I wore :: navy print wrap dress.


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The Fitness Diaries continues! This time from the ballet barre…

Studio :: BarreWorks, Paradise Rd. Richmond.

Class :: The BarreWorks classic workout class taught by Sophie, Friday 9.30-10.30am.

Thoughts :: There are lots of studios offering ballet barre-inspired workout classes throughout London now, and after coming across the likes of BarreCore and BarreToned via Twitter a couple of years ago, I’d been itching to try out a class. In fact, having a ready made excuse to visit a barre workout studio was the major reason I signed up to trial ClassPass in the first place!

BarreWorks is a ballet-focused workout studio based in Richmond, tucked away just one road back from the main high street. The studio space itself is tiny and charming, and what with the fully mirror-lined studios and feminine, eclectic decor, it definitely feels more like a ballet studio than traditional fitness space. In fact, the very moment I set foot through the door it brought back two decades worth of dance studio based memories- kind of a surreal experience!

So, to the class itself. I need to start by saying that this is most definitely *not* a ballet class. It takes its core principles from classical ballet technique, but there’s no actual dance involved at all! So if you’ve never done a single ballet class in your life and are scared to give the workout a go- never fear! There’s not a pointe shoe or pirouette in sight!

All of the movements are done in a turned out position, and the emphasis is upon small, controlled movements and poses that are held and pulsed to target and challenge the muscle groups. The class began with a quick, dynamic warm up stretch in the centre of the studio, then moved to the barre for leg and arm work, followed by core work and a cooldown stretch on the mat. The focus of the workout is on keeping the muscles long, so weights are small (1.5kilos was the max available) and movements are designed to work the muscle groups without making them bunch through effort. For example, in one sequence the weights were held lightly and at arms’ length, and were pulsed up just an inch or so, whilst simultaneously pulsing down an inch or so in a fourth position plie to work the quads and glutes.

If I’m being totally honest, I didn’t love the class. Though it really was a great workout and my body felt really nicely tired afterwards (and the post-class ache has definitely been more satisfying than hellish!), I found that, because the movement patterns of pulses and inward + outward circling were pretty repetitive, I did get a little bit bored. It also made me realise quite how much I rely on music to help me though a workout, because, since BarreWorks classes are accompanied by, but not set directly *to* music, there wasn’t the drive of a really great soundtrack to carry you through the movements when they got tough. I found it far harder to power through pain than I would normally, and If you’ve ever taken a ballet class before, you’ll quickly remember quite how deceptively strenuous the positions are!

The Verdict :: I still would recommend giving the BarreWorks classic workout class a go, even though it wasn’t my cup of tea. I think for anyone looking to get the long, lean tone of a dancer’s physique but not wanting to take adult ballet classes, it’d be great! I also really liked how motivating the instructor was throughout the class- she did the vast majority of the exercises along with us whilst leading us through class at the same time- and made it look totally effortless! I would love to go back to take the actual ballet class they offer, so might see if I’ve got time to pop back to Richmond in the next couple of weeks!

Booking :: I booked a spot in class for my Mum (who was taking class with me) directly through the studio, but attended myself via my ClassPass subscription. As I said in my last review, I’m so impressed with the scheme (and haven’t been sponsored or requested to share my thoughts here!). The booking process is flawlessly simple, and considering some workout classes I’ve looked at in London run at well over £20 per hour, at £59 a month for a six month ClassPass, I think it’s a no-brainer for anyone who takes more than one class per week.

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Posted in EXERCISE

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