03 June 2016

Chanel's Cuban Resort Show 2016/2017: Full of bright colours & Cuban love

Courtesy of www.harpersbazaar.com
On the 3rd May Chanel showcased their Resort collection for 2016/2017 in Cuba. It was Chanel that started the concept of traveling to exotic locations for Resort shows. Now Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Dior have joined in on the idea of travelling to some luxurious location to show off their Resort collections, anything for some sun.
I realise this show was a over month ago and I'm terribly late about writing about it, I've had bits of pieces of it written for a while,so I have been trying. But even though it's late, who doesn't like looking at gorgeous Chanel clothes?
Since relations were restored between Cuba and the United States in 2015 the country has provided inspiration for a host of designers. Karl Lagerfeld was the first to actually take a show on the road to the island nation, which he first told the press about in October 2015. The event was also the first time Chanel had staged a show in Latin America.

Karl is one of the industry’s truly iconic designers, at the helm of two global brands (Chanel & Fendi) that he helped revitalise, as well as his own brand and has a pretty cute cat called Choupette to go with it. Lagerfeld said the Resort line was inspired by Cuba's "cultural richness", but it can be questioned if that is a romanticised version of an early 60's fantasised Cuba,since 11 million people live off $20 (£13.87) a month and food is scarce.

Courtesy of www.luxetipsmag.com
The American fashion press who flew into Cuba for the Chanel Resort show landed two hours before the first U.S. cruise ship to have docked in Havana from Florida, the first such crossing in more then 50 years.
Chanel invited seven hundred guests to the open-air street show on a promenade turned into a catwalk for the Cruise collection, even though Chanel goods are not even sold in Cuba. They would cost well beyond the average Cuban wage.

The worlds celebrities such as Tilda Swinton, Vin Diesel and Gisele Bündchen, amongst others in the fashion world such as Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld arrived in a multicoloured convoy of the city’s classic candy paint open-top Buicks, Cadillacs, and Oldsmobiles. The owners tooted their horns through the streets of Old Havana, while people came out to line the streets and crowds stood on dilapidated balconies and rooftops waving. The locals gave such a warm welcome to a super-luxurious brand and the wealthy women who were wearing it, even though the communist country is a poor one.

However, residents were frustrated that they were held behind police lines around the event venue and could only watch from behind the security cordon lines. Despite this there was still a huge level of excitement from the residents, after all it is a Chanel runway show.

There was a French-Cuban singing group called Ibeyi, who are twin sisters and were recently seen in Beyoncé's infamous Lemonade video. Now onto the collection, the clothes were exquisitely made, but were relatable, wearable and had a youthful and joyful feel to them.
Courtesy of www.fashionisers.com
Guests sat on park benches in the open air of the tree-lined Paseo del Prado, watching the models leisurely walk down the promenade in beautiful Chanel creations. There were black close fitting waist length jackets over wide-legged cuffed trousers, showing some Coco Chanel Twenties and Thirties style, when Cuba first became a popular cruise destination.
There were beautiful calf length 50's style swirly skirt dresses made of lace and organza. There were also some relaxed floaty dresses, neatly belted that were made of a material with Cuban 50's styled cars on. The gorgeous print was also used in other dresses and suits and also on a man's robe. There were also 50's style suits and wide ties.
There were flirty full printed skirts, crocheted summer dresses and skinny long tube dresses adorned with macramé (string knotted in a decorative pattern.) There were sleek tailored pieces full of bursts of colour, which was only right as Cuba is a city of colour with the vibrant painted streets of Havana. There were lots of bright pinks, yellows, coral oranges, greens, turquoises and blues.
Courtesy of www.coolchicstylefashion.com
There were also some sequin encrusted statement pieces and dresses that were lemony-oranges, peachy-pinks and greeny-blues. Amongst the bright colours there was still plenty of white, black and military like olive green.
There were lustrous cha-cha style numbers and a t-shirt worn by many models in different ways, which is bound to become a streetwear staple in the upcoming months, Chanel's "Viva Coco Libre". It was styled casually with long skirts and relaxed jeans, but also worn with the iconic Chanel tweed jacket for a more formal style.
A lot of craftyness went on with fab knits, fringing and macramé weaves on more then a few items. The Chanel embroiderers have had their work cut out decorating sleeves with dense layers of tattered fabric, influenced by the rumba sleeves of Cuban dancers.
Courtesy of fashionistas.com
The traditional Cuban shirt with flat pleats the Guayabera that has pockets, shoulder tabs and flat pleats was featured by Karl, who re-designed it in a variety of ways. The shirt came in a soft and sheer design as well as crisp and textured one. The designer made it an easy to wear blouse for the day paired with rolled up chinos. It was also shown in a more selacious way made of black transparent material and worn with a flared skirt.

Karl also re-designed the great Cuban classic Che Guevara military beret having a sparkly black version in the show with the Chanel emblem instead of a star. Many models wore Panama hats with Chanel camellias tucked into the hatbands.

The show was one of the most relaxed ones in years which also showed in the choice of footwear. Models wore flat brogues and typical Cuban flip-flops and slides that Cuban people wear every day. Accessories included cigar boxes as women's evening bags, tropical brooches and 'Coco Club' backpacks. It was very feminine with all the right accessories.
The iconic Coco Chanel boyish feminity was part of the show, it was Parisian chic infused with a Latino theme, light-hearted with very wearable clothes, no avant gardé pieces here. The show was a cheerful one and as it ended it broke out into a carnival where the models, audience and the local band all danced together. It was a refreshingly different relaxed show with Cuba's old-world charm and warmth well suiting the collection, with a joyous celebration of everything Cuban taking centre stage. Yet you could feel Coco Chanel so strongly in every look, you knew it was a Chanel show. You can watch the video of the show here.
Courtesy of www.vo-plus.com
Again I'm sorry this is such a late post, I hope you are still all interested in it and lusting after all the clothes as much as I am. Birthday fairy please take note.
Second Hand Rose

15 May 2016

The Met Gala 2016: Full of metallics, robot arms and light up dresses

I was meant to blog about this last week, but have been busy sorting out a very special lady's birthday, no not the Queen but she's as important, my beautiful Mumma Bear. I will blog about aspects of her birthday at a later date, that's if she lets me. Trust me you don't want to get on the wrong side of Mummy SHR, death stare is an understatement.

On the 2nd May the most decadent and exclusive couture event of the year was held, the Met Gala. Anyone who's anyone and also people who aren't really anyone would adore to get an invitation to this magical event. Even some A-list celebrities have described the evening as surreal and a place where dreams come true, so it's highly unlikely any TOWIE stars who will go the opening of an envelope will be getting an invite anytime soon.

Officially it's the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit's extravaganza held on the first Monday in May to raise money for the Costume Institute, which is the only part of the museums department that has to fund itself. It consists of an elaborate red carpet with a hell of a lot of stairs for stars in tight somewhat awkward costumes to have to walk up, which can be amusing in itself. The Met Gala hasn't always been so lavish and full of A-list stars.
The Met Gala 1948: Courtesy of ursulinemagazine.com

It all began in December 1948 when a publicist called Eleanor Lambert started the gala, called then the 'Costume Institute Gala'. It was started as a philanthropic endeavour and all the people who were part of New York Society were invited. Women paid $50 ($505.39 or £351.97 in 2016) to wear gowns from the Costume Institute's archive. That doesn't seem too much to spend on wearing one of the archives beautiful gowns.
Then in 1960, the event was called the “Metropolitan Museum Fashion Ball” which hosted a select group of celebs and Manhattan’s elite members of society. In 1971 when Diana Vreeland who worked for Vogue became a consultant to the Costume Institute to the Museum and took the gala to a new level, charging $150 ($891.42 or £620.81 in 2016). The gala became more extravagant, more people then just a few celebs and New York society were invited, such as a lot of A-list actors, musicians and politicians. The idea of a theme for the event began, the theme of dress each year coincided with the exhibition that was taking place at the museum that year. Themes allowed for guests to dress accordingly to the theme in ostentatious constructed outfits to illustrate the theme of the event. Themes throughout the years included 1973-1974 The World of Balenciaga, 1974-1975 Romantic and Glamarous Hollywood Design and 1979-1980 Fashions of the Hasburg Era Austria-Hungary. The success of the event rose and it ended up being called "The Party of the Year".
Angela Lansbury & Jackie O: 1979-1980 "Fashions of the Hasburg Era"
Courtesy of shrimptoncouture.com
Pat Buckley took over as chairwoman in 1979 and then in 1995 the most powerful and influential woman in fashion took over as chairwoman, Anna Wintour, the editor of American Vogue.
She transformed the Met Gala into what is has become today an, event everyone is dying to be invited to.

Anna has been at the driving force in turning the Met Gala from a local philanthropic event into a spectacular heavily photographed affair that is globally reviewed, critiqued and talked about. People from the arts, fashion, film, politics, business, music and high society attend the gala. It has become a major fundraising event for the museum and raised $12.5 million in 2015. It also serves as an opening celebration for the Institute's annual fashion exhibit and following the gala, the exhibition runs for several months.

Anna Wintour oversees both the benefit committee and the guest list, with her staff helping her assemble the list of invitees. The annual guest list includes 650-700 people which makes those elaborate Sweet 16 parties on TV we used to watch on MTV look like tea parties. The cost of a ticket rose to $30,000 (£20,823) and $275,000 (£190,883) this year for those outside the official guest list, to increase the exclusivity of the event. The party and exhibit this year are sponsored by Apple, so all the money will go to the Costume Institute.

Cher- 1985-1986 Costumes of Royal India
Courtesy of shrimptoncouture.com
There is one way to get into the gala without a ticket, if a brand invites a celebrity to be their guest and sit at their table. Non negotiable the celebrity has to wear clothes from that brand, so the brands try and get the best celebrities. You will find that the celebrity has the designer as their date, such as last year Jeremy Scott took Katy Perry and Marc Jacobs took Cher.

The only other way to get in without having to save up is that Anna Wintour often invites up and coming designers who might not be able to afford a pot noodle let alone a ticket to the Gala, so it shows she does have somewhat of a heart.

There is a waiting list to even get on the invite list and whether you're invited has to do more with achievement and beauty (but I don't think anyone would admit the last part) rather then how much money you have. Anna has say over every invite and attendee, even if a brand buys a table it cannot choose everyone who sits at the table. The brand must clear it with her and Vogue, she oversees every detail, down to the timed entrances for guests, the word controlling comes to mind.

This year the exhibit is "Manus x Machina" nope me neither. It's all about fashion in the age of technology and Jonathan Ive, chief design officer of Apple, Taylor Swift and Idris Elba were on the committee. The theme is meant to celebrate the beauty of both hand-made haute couture and machine made clothing. Technology is becoming a big part of fashion with laser cutting, laser design and 3D printing, so high fashion and high functioning technology which some call "android couture" (I bet Apple weren't too pleased) are merging more then ever before.

Generally, it is advisable to play it safe and just get really, really dressed up. Each year celebs don't have to follow the theme and can just get really, really dressed up instead, but it's a bit like going to your friends 60's party where everyone has dressed up and all you've done is put on a slightly shorter skirt then normal.

So this Met Gala there were dresses with hand-sewn metallic details, fairy tale dress trains, metal robot arms and some beautifully coutured gowns and stars that lit up the red carpet, literally.

There were tables set up with beautiful rose china inside the Temple of Dendur containing a rose archway inside the Museum. Celebrities were allowed to admire the exhibit and celebrities had the possibility to film short videos in the Vogue "ManusxMachina experience" photo booth, which had wild light displays, techno music and even a director, just like the photo booths you've been in at a friends wedding then.

My Verdict: Yes, there were some beautiful gowns with amazing detail, but mostly I was pretty underwhelmed due to either lack of effort or predictability. It's like the stars didn't follow the memo or simply understand it. A lot of them turned up in dresses that were gorgeous but only had the tiniest amount of detail to go with the theme or none at all and let's not even talk about Madonna or Lady Gaga, can we have the Lady Gaga at the Oscars back please! Anyway, I've rattled down all the dresses to a top five, with some extra ones being deserved a mention.

Naomi Campbell: Wore a dazzling Roberto Cavalli jewel encrusted glittering charcoal coloured gown, with a large cut-out at the waist, making us all feel bad for not doing our crunches. The dress had a stunning fishtail train which was embellished with silver sequins running along the seams. Photo from eonline.com

Jourdan Dunn: Wore a Balmain corset-like creation that has a futuristic feel so her gown was in tune with the theme. The model shimmered in the figure hugging slim-fitting column glittery silver gown, also with cut-outs. The dress contained thousands of intricate rhinestones and was simply beautiful. She also featured ash and lilac highlights in her simple yet amazing looking bob haircut, which went perfectly with her dress. Photo from dailymail.co.uk

Ciara: Simply sparkled and shined in a jewelled illusion gown by H&M. She also debuted silver hair for the Gala, which made her look like the hottest Grandma I've ever seen. I adore the jewelled creation by H&M, but I don't think we will be finding the couture dress in any of our local H&M's anytime soon, sadly. We will just have to stick to their skater dresses and basic tank tops and dream. Photo from usmagazine.com
Courtesy of justjared.com
Courtesy of eonline.com
Nina Dobrev: Wore a champagne tulle gown made my Marchesa that was embellished with floral appliqué and shimmering beads. There were a lot of flying birds and botanical features in the fine gold thread work scattered within the mirror fragments.
I like this dress as it doesn't go with the generic metallic silver look of the night, but still contains aspects of the theme, it isn't just a beautiful dress with no content. Nina also had a nude metallic clutch bag and headpiece made by Marchesa and look at the back of that dress, it's just simply stunning.

Claire Danes: Was the highlight for me but she wasn't even mentioned on some best dressed lists, it was all the generic silver ones and Kanye with his ripped jeans, I mean this is the Met Gala, he could at least have worn a suit!
Back to Claire she collaborated with Zac Posen to create a powder blue ball gown that had a gorgeous silhouette. The dress was hand sewn and made with organza & fiber optics to create a dress that glowed inside the Gala. This was a high-tech garment combined with beautiful hand made artistry and encapsulated the theme the best for me. If you're a Homeland fan, I don't think we will be seeing Claire as Carrie Matheson wearing this running after terrorists anytime soon though.
Courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

So they are my top five, but there are a couple more that deserve a mention for their creativity.

Karolina Kurkova wore a gown that was created by Marchesa who collaborated with IBM Watson and the dress included 150 hand-placed LED lights. IBM analysed hundreds of images assosciated with Marchesa dresses to learn the brand's colour palette & correlated this data with the analysis of social media sentiment, yeah my heads hurting too. Anyway it was wearable technology with changing coloured LED lights, it was so wearable she couldn't even sit down in it! She must have had pretty sore feet by the end of the night!
Courtesy of Elle.com

Emma Watson collaborated with Calvin Klein and the Green Carpet Challenge to create a sustainable red carpet look. It was a monochrome look with a full skirt that actually had trousers underneath, with a fitted bodice and off-the-shoulder sleeves. The outfit was made from recycled plastic bottles and Emma wanted to use the Gala as an opportunity to highlight the advancements in Eco fashion. Everything from the lining to the unique yarn, which was also created using plastic bottles, was made from sustainable materials. Now that is a commitment to Eco fashion and was a great twist on the theme.

Courtesy of hautetoday.com
I'm not sure how this dress goes with the theme, but I just want to give a shout out to Adriana Lima in a Giambattista Valli Haute Couture dress as I adore the 50's style full skirt look of it and the red lipstick to go with it.

For me these ladies above beat some of the other obvious dresses on show at the Gala out of the park and even though there were some that looked stunning such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, they didn't really embrace the theme completely, they just had a pretty dress and if there is any event you go all out at its the Met Gala. It's not the time to wear a simple fitted dress.

What were your favourites from the Met Gala? Apart from Tom Hiddleston, Bradley Cooper and Orlando Bloom in tuxedos of course. Drool overload.

Second Hand Rose

20 April 2016

18th-24th April: The week you can change the fashion world

Courtesy of fashion revolution.org
From the 18th-24th April it is Fashion Revolution week, which is asking people to question where their clothes have come from. The week began after 1,134 people were killed and over 2,500 people were injured on the 24th April 2013, when the Rana Plaza complex tragically collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The garment factory collapsed due to structural inadequacies and since then people have been trying to change the way our clothes are made. You can find out here how you can get involved and even just tweeting a brand and asking #whomademyclothes will help bring some awareness and make brands accountable.
However, also this week H&M have launched their own initiative called World Recycle Week, which some people have branded insensitive to be held on the same week. H&M aim to collect 1,000 tonnes of unwanted clothes via its ‘Garment Collecting Initiative’, frankly that's probably the amount of clothes I have in my wardrobe put together.
Courtesy of hm.com
They launched this idea in 2013 and all of its 3,600 stores around the world are taking part. You can do your bit for charity and planet earth by taking in any old unwanted clothes into the stores. These don't have to be H&M clothes and can have holes in, be stained (thanks Piri-Piri sauce) and they'll even take your holey old socks you've been wearing for the past four months, now that's commitment. You can also take in old sheets and towels you've been stacking up and give all these items a second life.
For a bag of items you bring your are given two £5 gift vouchers to use when spending £25 or more on your next shop, so what better inspiration can there be to have a good old sort out.
All donations will be sorted at one of seven sorting plants worldwide and either sold in second-hand stores or re-used as cloths or upholstery or recycled to become new fabric and hopefully new H&M items we will all be dying to snap up. Recycling just one shirt can save 2,100 litres of water, so you (maybe accidentally) getting rid of that dreadful curtain like flowery shirt your boyfriend bought that one time will be doing some good.
Since the initiative a.k.a hell of a good idea started in 2013, 28,000 tonnes of unwanted clothing has been collected, which is amazing. Millions of clothes are put in landfills every day and 95% of them could have a new life, so H&M are trying to bring about the end of clothing landfills. And you thought they were only good for bralets and skater dresses.
The hip-hop artist MIA is the face of its #WorldRecycleWeek campaign and has released a new video to coincide with the campaign. You can check the video out and more details out about H&M's World Recycle Week here.
Courtesy of letsrecycle.com
H&M say they want to 'Close the Loop' in textiles for fashion, recycling unwanted garments to create recycled textile fibres for new products.
A 'Close the Loop' collection was produced in September 2015 containing recycled denim and other items made up of 20% recycled cotton from collected clothes and 80% organic cotton.
Simply put they want to be able to turn old unwanted clothes into new ones without using additional materials and you can help in their project by taking in your unloved clothes into your nearest H&M store this week and receiving the two £5 vouchers. You can the give yourself a big pat on the back for helping the planet, or just let yourself have an extra piece of cake, your choice.
I'll probably be opting for the cake.
Second Hand Rose

17 April 2016

Two programmes you NEED to watch: The Durrells and Home Fires

I've been meaning to blog for ages and have been desperate to write, but weeks turn into months and sometimes life gets in the way and you have to take your attention away from the latest ASOS sales and drooling over Bradley Cooper, well almost.
I've been racking my brains for what to start back with as my first post and two period based TV programmes that I'm in love with right now seemed the perfect subject.
The Durrells

The Durrells is about a family who suddenly up sticks from Bournemouth to start a new life on the gorgeous Greek island of Corfu. The series is based on the trilogy of autobiographical novels by Gerald Durrell, which focus on four years of his family's adventures in Corfu between 1935-1939, so this is perfect for all you 30s fans and it's really interesting see ing what another country was like during those years.
Both pictures courtesy of The Radio Times
Keeley Hawes (Life on Mars) plays the worn out mother Louisa who is sadly a widow and decides to start a new life for her children. She has four unruly children Larry 21, Leslie 18, Margo 17, and Gerry who is 11 and really does not have a lot of money, so decides the best option is to uproot them all. Well it's much better then constant drizzly days in Britain.
The series is on Sunday's on ITV at 8pm and contains six episodes. There have already been two (three if you're reading this after Sunday!) on but you can easily catch up on the ITV Hub here (you may have to sign up to this.)
They are great episodes and watch out for some yummy eye candy. If you loved The Darling Buds of May, then you will love this as it has that warm hearted feel to it and their family continues to grow animal by animal as they are rescued.
The family struggle to adapt to life on the island, living in an incredibly basic house with no electricity and lots of other things go wrong in the house, but it is a cheap earthly paradise. The children try to set their Mum up which proves to be an interesting experience, no Tinder in those days. There is some Greek eye candy you should definitely look out for. This series really is a funny gentle captivating series, perfect for Sunday nights. I mean who doesn't want to watch an island paradise, set in the 1930s with the odd yummy Greek to drool over and I'm not talking about Feta cheese here ladies.

Home Fires:

The second series of Home Fires started a couple of weeks ago and I was so excited to know it was back as I loved the first series. It is about the life of the women in the Women's Institute on the Home Front during the Second World War. It is set in a small rural community called Great Paxford in Cheshire where everyone knows everyone's business. The series was inspired by the book Jambusters by Julie Summers and has an all star cast including Samantha Bond and many other fabulous actors and actresses.
The first series was set between September 1939 and early 1940 and that is just about where series two picks up, in the summer of 1940. The village is caught up in the Battle of Britain and the country is bracing itself for invasion so the women are attempting to hold things together. Czech soldiers have also set up camp just outside the village which provides some surprising friendships for some of the women.
As well as the war to deal with the women are facing their own personal challenges and conflicts, with loved ones being lost or declared missing, secrets being discovered and reputations being blemished. The Women's Institue really help keep the women and village together and help each other through hard times. This programme is perfect for all of you interested in that time era, the fashion is amazing and it shows really how the women kept the home fires burning.
It's on Sunday's on ITV at 9pm, just after The Durrells so you can be in vintage heaven for two hours. You can catch up on the last two episodes (again three if you're reading this after Sunday night!) on the ITV Hub here. If you're unable to access the ITV Hub then you can stream them, tvmuse.com is a good place to start and has links for the first series of Home Fires if you really want to get into it or you can read the episode summaries on Wikipedia. I suggest you do find out what happened in series one as the story continues on for series two.

These are two programmes I suggest you watch even if you're not into the whole vintage thing as The Durrells is light hearted and peaceful and Home Fires is full of drama and beautifully written. So curl up with a packet of chocolate biscuits and enjoy some great tv, perfect for a Sunday night before a week of work and trying to avoid eating far too many slices of cake.

Second Hand Rose


10 July 2014

My 21st Birthday: Part 1- Full of surprises & one very lovely boyfriend

On the 22nd June I turned the ripe old age of 21. I at least now have to act like an adult, even if I feel like a kid inside who thinks about chocolate cake just a little too much. For the past few months I have been having a quarter life crisis dissecting every part of my life, questioning everything including whether I need yet another pair of heels to add to my shoe collection. I was being continuously asked by my family what I wanted for my birthday and how I wanted to celebrate getting older. Apparently a box set of The Darling Buds of May and a big bar of Dairy Milk wasn't quite enough.
All I knew was that I wanted to do something that I would remember for years to come, that I could tell my future cats and ducks all about. Every week I was asking Mr. Boyfriend what he was planning/ giving me for my birthday and every time I would get a very short response hiding any hint of what he was up to. Even depriving him of an extra chocolate eclair one time didn't make him crack. He was so evasive about it all and what he said kept changing and contradicting itself. One minute we were doing something the week before my birthday, then it was the week after and then the same weekend. It didn't take Miss Marple to work out that he hadn't exactly figured it out yet or organised everything, or so I thought.
As the weeks went on I became more rattled and started resigning myself to the fact that my man was not the type that would whisk me away somewhere and I was preparing myself to a life of restaurant coupon vouchers and predictably. He would just say to me "you never know, I might be", let's just say organisation isn't exactly his strong point, it's taken me over three years to get him to start writing lists so I wasn't expecting much. Don't get me wrong I wasn't hoping for anything big and it wasn't about the cost or the extravagance at all. It was more about the sentimentality and the thought involved, but having to tell our future children that he gave me a book token for my 21st just didn't quite cut it.
The week before my birthday I tried to probe him once more and received no information or clues. I may have told him more then once that he was really disorganised and I bet Bradley Cooper would have had it all figured out by now. An hour later I received a text from him that said 'Keep Saturday & Sunday free and make sure you pack an overnight bag.' So like any other normal woman I sent him a barrage of questions wanting every last detail but I just got 'I said...' and then the same text.
All week I tried to squeeze some more detail out of him and all I was told was that there were two locations and he was picking me up early Saturday afternoon and I needed to bring something nice to wear. So I spent the rest of the week on ASOS trying to find a perfect outfit whilst wracking up a pretty impressive bill in the process. Thank god for free returns.
I told my family about it and they all shared in my excitement and inquisitiveness about my weekend and came to the conclusion that he'd just gone on lastminute.com the night he text me. When I told my Grandma her face lit up, I think I got the soppy old romantic gene from her. Her first thought was that he was taking me to Gretnor Green.
For several months I had been trying to convince her that it was incredibly unlikely that he would propose on my 21st. Her reasoning was that because she got engaged on her 21st that meant I would too. I tried to explain to her that a) this is not the 1950s when people had a life expectancy of around 65 and b) has she seen the price of weddings recently? The days of spam sandwiches and cheese and pineapple hedgehogs at wedding receptions are long gone.
So on Saturday 14th June I painted my nails, tweezed my eyebrows and packed my case, which was then repacked with a few more extra pairs of shoes and waited to be picked up by my very own Casanova. All the way to our secret destination I wasn't allowed to look at the sat nav or ask any questions about where we were going. After many anxious Google maps tracking minutes later we arrived in beautiful Brighton.
The sound of the seagulls was so cathartic and the smell of the sea was intoxicating. My curiousness grew and after trying to find a parking spot among all the millions of one way streets we arrived at The Amsterdam Hotel. Mr Boyfriend even wheeled my bright pink flowery bag for me, such a charmer. The hotel was beautiful and we had an amazing room and a great view of the sea and the pier. The hotel was right on the seafront and you only had to walk across the road to reach the pier. I was then quickly told to get ready and constantly asked the time every few minutes by a very nervous and fidgety Mr Boyfriend.
After I'd applied a couple of extra coats of mascara, applied my new MAC Ruby Woo lipstick and changed my shoes about six times, I was ushered into a taxi. We arrived at the glorious Havana restaurant which was beautiful from the outside and even more so on the inside. You can assume pretty much in life that any restaurant that has a fountain will not be serving up the usual bacteria on toast. As we were eating at an early bird special time we had some spicy nuts and hundreds of olives, washed down by a few cocktails in the bar first.
What can I say, we are old gits who want to be home in time for our mugs of cocoa. Mr Boyfriend treated himself to several cocktails mainly because of the names such as the 'Zombie', he's a pretty big 'The Walking Dead' fan and has made me watch some horrific movies in the past three and a half years. Because of him Zombie sheep have occupied my nightmares for far too long.

We then had a delicious meal starting with a mezzanine platter of flatbread, humous, sour cream, a breaded humous parcel and more yummy olives. I then had an incredibly yummy Mushroom Risotto while Mr Boyfriend stuffed his face with chicken. During the meal the waiter offered us some bread using a fork and spoon and beforehand he pulled my chair out and lay my napkin on my lap. Now I bet they don't do that in Burger King.
We were both pretty stuffed after all our thousands of olives and gorgeous food, so decided not to have a pudding. In the restaurant there was also a grand piano and a saxophonist. We slowly walked back to the hotel and had a lovely walk along the seafront.
It was beautiful walking along the seafront even though I did underestimate how many streets we had to walk. Mr Boyfriend kept insisting we get a taxi and even offered to carry me at one point. But I didn't fancy a trip to A&E with his broken back being part of our weekend away. It was like being in a different world. The air smelt and felt different and it was lovely being so close to the sea and having several fish and chip shops within a mile radius.
The next day we stopped at a pub called The Plough Inn in Pyecome on the way back home. Even though it was Father's Day there was luckily a table spare for us. Before I went away my Grandma gave me some money to spend on the weekend, so we had a lovely meal using that. I had some delicious vegetable Fajitas that my dining companion was continuously eyeing up and ended up stealing some of in the end, he's a right greedy gannet.
I had a wonderful weekend and it was lovely exploring Brighton and spending time with my Mr Loverman.
I was filled with a lot of happiness and my positivity had been revived. So what if I'm not a perfect size 8 and my life hasn't quite gone exactly to plan? I have a best friend, boyfriend and true love who very luckily are all the same person and that's good enough for me.
Plus he looks pretty hot all dressed up too.
Second Hand Rose