Friday, 31 March 2017


I was lucky enough to enjoy a short break in Rome last week and I can't recommend this time of year enough for visiting this beautiful city - which is one of my favourites in the world. I have been a number of times before, the last being in July 2015 when it was so so hot that we had to really time our excursions to miss the heat of the afternoon.  No such problem in late March, it was just perfect weather for a city break... fine to sit out and watch the world go by, and ideal for walking, walking, walking.

We stayed at a lovely apartment on the Via dei Cappellari, booked through called the Rome as you feel - Cappellari apartment  It is near the Campo di Fiori and made a great base for visiting all the major attractions.  This is a really vibrant and lively area with a strong artisan vibe and a medieval feel to the streets.  

I prefer to book an apartment as I like the freedom that goes with a true home away from home where you don't have the worry of bumping into housekeeping, you can do your own washing, cooking and just blob out when you want.  This apartment was lovely - two bedrooms and bathrooms and with its own small terrace so we could sit out for breakfast before setting off on the tourist trail. 

It was beautifully decorated with lots of unusual artwork and every comfort of home.  There was air-conditioning in each room, which wasn't relevant for us but would be if you visited in the summer months.

Being so near the Campo Di Fiori there are lots of places to eat and there is also a daily market, selling everything from flowers to spices and some amazing shops - so you can easily cater for yourself should you wish to.  Not that we did. 

There are plenty of restaurants on the piazza itself but these tend to be more expensive than others nearby and are not my favourites.  But stopping for a drink and watching the world go by is a must.

On our first day out and about we were heading towards the Trevi Fountain and decided a lunch break was in order.  We just happened to turn a corner into the Piazza Accademia di S. Luca and came across Il Ristoro Dal Patriota with its pretty lace umbrellas over the seats where we enjoyed a pizza - nothing special but not over priced and very tasty.   

Our favourite and most highly recommended eatery was just yards from our apartment and we visited here on two evenings.  The Carbonara was amongst the best I have ever tasted and the service was excellent - friendly and not intrusive. 

Osteria dei Cappellari was evidently the haunt of a lot of locals and I can't think of a better recommendation for any establishment.  The wine was excellent and it was all really reasonably priced.

We were also lucky enough to have this lovely little coffee bar down the same street (via dei Cappellari) where we stopped for breakfast.  A really popular spot and one of the best coffees I have ever had.

Not the normal croissant (cornetto in Italy) but at the recommendation of the owner we had focaccia with ricotta and hazelnut spread.  Delicious. As it was on our street we walked past it a number of times and it was always buzzing, particularly at lunchtime.

Another place we visited a couple of times was the Tucci Ristorante on Piazza Navona.  As one of the top tourist destinations this was never going to be a budget option but I must say it was really good - good food, good value and good service.  And if you like Tartufo - well this is the place to go.  Great for people watching as well.

There will be another blog on Rome soon - such a fantastic place there's just too much to saY!

Friday, 24 March 2017


As I have mentioned before my daughter Lizzy is a full time blogger and the writer of Shot from the Street. I often take pictures for her which she features on her blog and instagram  but I don't often become a feature on her blog.  With Mother's Day approaching this weekend she was asked by the fabulous team at Pandora to collaborate on a Mother's Day post featuring their jewellery and focusing on "Lessons from my Mum".  We had the most wonderful day in Manchester with her boyfriend Harry taking pictures of us wearing our chosen pieces and we are still fighting over the droplet ring|!

These pictures show Lizzy wearing the fabulous Family Tree and Locket Necklaces and for me the Luminous Droplet Ring, Essence and Moment Bangles.   

I really loved the "You Are So Loved" Moments bangle which is the perfect gift for any Mum.

Lizzy asked me to talk about the things that my Mum had taught me, which was quite an emotional thing to do but something I really enjoyed doing.  She is following with her own post on what I have taught her.  I think the similarities in our stories and things that are passed down through the generations is really poignant. 

We were also invited down to London by Pandora to have our photo taken by a professional photographer - make up done and the works....a real treat  - and the team was so supportive and friendly it made for the most amazing day.  We met lots of other Mums and their offspring too which was fabulous.

At the end of it all we were sent a selection of our chosen shots and this is our favourite one below, which is definitely going to be framed and on display in my lounge.

A big thank you to Pandora and most of all to my amazing daughter - Love you 


Friday, 17 March 2017


Anne H here, picking up after a trip to Paris with my daughter Lizzy who was there for Paris Fashion Week.  We had a the most amazing time, not least because we stayed with our friends who have a fabulous apartment near the Hotel de Ville, so we couldn't have been more central.  Sadly the weather was not very kind and we had some really grey and rainy days which wasn't ideal for blogging, even in Paris.

Since I did a bit of a Paris travel guide this time last year (link here) I have decided to focus more on restaurant recommendations, which I hope you will find useful should you find yourself in the city of lights.  Of course, I couldn't completely ignore shopping so I have included a recommendation for a rather lovely concept store as well.  

Naturally I will share a bit on the outfits I wore whilst there but I must confess it is a bit of a uniform for me as I tend to wear the things that I am most comfortable in and which will let me pound the streets in comfort.  That includes this camel coat that I purchased from Byondonline and is the Harmony Magda coat that they still have in the sale.  I have teamed with boots from KG, jeans from Acne and a jumper from Cos.  The handbag I borrowed from my daughter and is the Karen Millen Suede Regent chain  bag.

I'm also sharing my favourite outfit that Lizzy wore, which also happens to include a rather fab shot of the Eiffel Tower so a good scene setter.  I particularly loved this vintage Hermes jacket that she got from Vestiaire Collective, a site that is well worth visiting if you are looking for designer items that have been carefully curated and validated.  She tells more about it on her blog Shot from the Street which you can reach via this link. 

CAFE-RESTAURANT LOUIS PHILIPPE, 66 Quai de l'Hôtel de ville, 75004

We had the most amazing evening meal in this pretty little restaurant which is frequented by locals - always a good sign I think.  I had a great  Boeuf Bourguignon that just tasted like it had been slowly cooking for ages - delicious.  Lizzy had a fantastic steak which was perfectly cooked and really tender and we finished with a shared assiette of cheese. A friendly atmosphere where the food is home cooked and reasonably priced, I would definitely visit Cafe Louis Philippe again. 

DERRIERE, 69 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003

Now restaurant Derriere is a bloggers dream with loads of photo opportunities, not least of which is the table tennis table in the middle of the dining room. The idea is that it is fashioned to be a home away from home and the rooms are designed as if you are in someone's apartment.  All very clever and beautifully created.  You definitely need to reserve a table in advance to come here as it is very popular and we managed to get a table for a late Saturday lunch.  The restaurant is located in the Marais district and is tucked away with a beautiful courtyard which must be lovely on a brighter day.

We were given a table on the first floor and part of our party sat on a bed to eat, with this fabulous mirrored ceiling above them.  Really original. Sadly the food didn't quite live up to the hype.  It was fine but very plain and it felt as if so much attention had been given to the surroundings that they lost sight of the importance of the food.  It is not somewhere I would rush to go back to but definitely think it is worth seeing.  

CAFE ST REGIS, 6 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004 

We escaped from the rain for breakfast in this lovely restaurant the St. Regis, which is on the Ille St Louis so not far from where we were staying.  We didn't go for the whole cooked breakfast, but we could see from those around us that it was fabulous.  Just the pain au chocolate and coffee were enough to set this place in our hearts.  Just look at the size of this pastry! The staff were lovely and friendly and this is 100% on my list of places to re-visit.

MARLON, 159 Rue de Grenelle, 75007

I have no excuse for having no pictures of this restaurant, I couldn't even steal any from Lizzy as she didn't have any either.  Located near the Eiffel Tower this Californian restaurant is great for brunch so was one I couldn't miss off my list.

MERCI,  111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 

A true concept store located in the centre of one of my favourite areas - Le Marais,  Merci is a cafe, restaurant, bookstore, clothing store, furniture and so much more all rolled into one. Flowers predominate and the centre piece of the store are its cherry blossom trees - so pretty, and the whole layout of the store is a treat.


Merci is not just an incredible store but a charitable foundation too, as its owners use proceeds from sales to fund an endowment paying for development and education in Madagascar.   Even the building has a story to tell with a full size chimney in its centre - it has variously been a wallpaper factory and was the centre for local jewellers to melt waste metals.  Definitely worth a visit but beware you could end up spending a fortune.


Friday, 10 March 2017


We have previously featured winter coats by new Yorkshire designer Sarah Lewis, but being ever-hopeful, we are counting on the weather being a little warmer in the coming weeks, and are delighted to be featuring some of Sarah’s lighter weight coats.

Sarah’s items are limited edition pieces as she does not mass produce her garments – and this is reflected in the price.  All her coats are made in the UK, using luxury high-end fabrics and gorgeous linings.

We joined Sarah at her lovely Yorkshire workshop and she helped us to model her new collection.  She is wearing Anastasia in a soft raspberry pink 100% linen coat. The lining is 100 % satin acetate with a shot effect in two shades of purple. It is a very tailored coat with princess line panels and a high Bretton style collar, and optional tie belt.  In contrast to many of the other looser styles, it has a fitted body and flared skirt which follows the figure and is for those who prefer a closer fitting coat.

Anne H is wearing “Rhiannon”, a collarless blazer style edge-to-edge jacket with fitted sleeves and patch pockets in a wheat gold and black colour.  It is made from mixed fibres and has a 100% gold sating acetate lining.

Anne C is wearing “Lizzie” in stone and pale blue.  This is a straight, collarless, colour-block coat with fitted sleeves, concealed front pockets and fastenings. The stone coloured upper body is 100% linen while the pale blue lower body is 100% silk linen. The beautiful deep blue lining is 100% satin acetate. 

Anne H is wearing the same design coat, but in stone and a deeper blue, with a gold lining.

Sarah is showcasing the same design yet again, but in a different fabric – this time a grey Melange upper body in 100% Melton wool with a wine coloured lower body in 100% felted wool. The deep wine-coloured lining is 100% satin acetate.

Sarah's collection can be found here. Look out for our final blog on this collection in the coming weeks.


Friday, 3 March 2017


We love a good afternoon tea with lashings of hot tea!  So on a miserable, windswept Monday, we decided to give the coffee chains a rain-check and instead find the best cuppas in Leeds - from proper afternoon teas to superb coffee, we managed to sample four different independent cafes (and went home pleasantly full!)

We loved "Just Grand" aptly named as it is alongside the Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House in The Grand Arcade. Stepping back into the 1950s, it feels just like your Nanna's living room ..... starting with menus stuck to LP records from such wonderful old recording artistes as Shirley Bassey, Glen Miller, Gene Pitney, Joe Loss and Ricky Nelson.

The decor is definitely vintage, with old china, lace tablecloths, walnut cabinets displaying glassware and traditional afternoon tea fayre.  Since the cafe is undercover, but in an arcade, there are crocheted blankets and stuffed cushions to keep you cosy if you want to sit "outside".

For retro with a modern twist, we went to Mrs. Atha's which is on Central Road, immediately behind House of Fraser in the city centre. Delicious coffee is served with even more delicious cakes.  This extremely popular cafe is usually packed so we went early in the morning and managed half a ginger cake each with a coffee to perk us up.  Despite the name and the fabulous menu, the surroundings are distinctly urban, with bare brick walls and industrial-style lighting, scrubbed wooden tables and hipster serving staff, but the array of tempting delicious cakes was to die for.

And then for something completely different!  Tucked behind the old Lewis's store on the Headrow and next to St John's Church, is The Arch - run to raise funds for Age UK, so customers are contributing directly to supporting older people in Leeds. The building - the Bradbury building - is listed and is the head office of Age UK Leeds, and they also offer courses such as silver surfing for beginners and even a film-making course.  Rooms are also available to hire.

The food is deliciously home-cooked and was another popular cafe which was packed at lunchtime. They cook wonderfully traditional food on the premises (the Bakewell Tart was straight out of the oven and looked delicious, but we were too full to try any).  However, they serve a great cup of coffee and a magnificent hot chocolate complete with cream and marshmallows - and all incredibly reasonably priced. They do take-away and also corporate platters for lunchtime meetings - sadly of which we both no longer need.

Then on to one of our favourite haunts - the Tiled Hall Cafe situated between the Library and Leeds Art Gallery. This beautiful room was originally a reading room for the library and was covered over with shelving and hundreds of books before eventually falling into disuse, until in 2007 it was re-discovered and completely renovated and restored to its former glory.  They sell a good assortment of sandwiches, cakes and a tasty wholesome bowl of soup!

We still enjoy the major chains and the department store coffee shops, but the home-made cakes and scones take some beating in the independent shops.  We were also delighted that some of our Instagram followers decided to try these out themselves - we hope you enjoyed them!
© Sensational Baby Boomers

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