Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Films That Make Me Cry

Garden State Films That Make Me Cry I've read posts written by others in the past who share tips on the best films to make you feel happy or even the top ten films to make you cry... I've always wondered why you would ever want to watch a film to make you purposefully cry, that's always baffled me. But then, my fellow human beings can be baffling individuals, so I'll continue to wonder. It's no secret that I'm a huge film fan, I'm a Cineworld Unlimited card holder and I've recently upgraded to the premium membership, as my first year has now passed. For just £16.40 per month (I believe it's a little more for central London) you can go as many times as you like... Hence the "unlimited". Last year I saw around £392 worth of films, that's one heck of a lot of viewings and I've seen some pretty epic films, as well as some complete dross! I'll very rarely turn down a trip to the flicks, I'm always bumping into people I know at one of my four most local screens, it's a small world! It takes a lot to get me emotional when it comes to films, apparently I have no reaction when watching a thriller, I don't jump (well, very rarely) and I am usually bizarrely good at guessing the twists and turns, I just can't help it! But, when it comes to a good sob, it usually takes a lot to get me going... And when I do, it can sometimes take me a while to stop. I'm a little like Zach Braff in one of my most favourite films of all time (Garden State) and I simply have very little emotion, but when it's turned on, I'm a wreck! Here are some of the films that have got me going recently, don't judge me! Films That Make Me Cry About Time This is a gorgeous film, directed by Richard Curtis (the same guy behind the genius films such a Four Weddings and a Funeral & Love Actually) about a father (Bill Nighy) and his son who can travel back in time and as many fantastically romantic scenes as it may offer, the sad moments will have even the strongest of hearts melting... Ahem! Steel Magnolias A real retro chick flick with a young Julia Roberts & Dolly Parton, this has a big "feel good" lead up to the main catastrophic final scenes... Don't sit down to watch this without a massive bar of chocolate and some tissues - I'll condone such girly actions just this once and that goes for the guys too! Dallas Buyers Club Matthew McConaughey has always been a bit of a joke to me over the years, with corkers behind him such as How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, Magic Mike and Sahara (all just terrible!) you can forgive 100% for his latest films. He's all of a sudden come into his own and he's making me blub like a baby... Well, actually, Jared Leto does in this one, but I can't rate this one enough. Heavy content (it's about AIDS in 1985 Dallas), but just fantastic. Marley & Me This was advertised as a usual "Owen Wilson" laugh-a-minute comedy, of which it was for the first half of the film... Then BAM... The dog gets ill and nowhere on that advert does it tell me the dog will die an the entire cinema will be reduced to a blubbering mess. And even though I know what to expect, every time I catch it on the TV lately, it gets me. Every. Single. Time. Up The most emotional start to a film ever created belongs to this Disney Pixar beauty. The beautiful scene of two kids meeting and growing up together, falling in love, getting married and growing old together within the space of minutes. It's so clever and reduces even the most emotionally strong viewer to mush as their life story unfolds and sets the scene for the next two hours. This is one of my most favourite films in the world. The Fault In Our Stars I don't normally go for films taken from books like this, it's a young adult novel based on two teenagers who meet at a cancer patients' support group. Willem Dafoe plays an arse of a writer who really gets your goat, even at his best (I do love him as an actor!) and this film had EVERY lip quivering and nose sniffing as the credits rolled, even I didn't see the plot twist mid-way through. Saving Mr. Banks Any film with Emma Thompson (except The Love Punch, god awful film!) and Tom Hanks is a winner for me. This is the "real" story behind our beloved Mary Poppins and the father of this chirpy family. It wasn't all roses, animated penguins and dancing chimney sweeps when it came to the real man behind this childhood character, as much as Walt Disney wanted to make it out to be. It's truly a tear-inducing tale behind the reality that led P. L. Travers to depict her version of events. I laughed and cried in equal measures and can't watch Mary Poppins in the same light again. Films That Make Me Cry What gets your eyes watering when it comes to films? I'd love to hear from you in a comment below... Do you agree with my sad film choices or can you add something better to the mix?! Miss Sue Flay  

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Scent-sational: Jo Malone London

A friend of mine (Cat at The Teatime Treatery) recently introduced me to the wonderful and luxurious world of Jo Malone London, a beautifully British brand of colognes, scented candles and bath oils. I had no idea that tucked away off Cambridge Market was a Jo Malone shop on Rose Crescent, within the very same building that used to house my favourite art gallery in Cambridge until around a year ago. As soon as I stepped through the door, the memories of champagne schmoozes and meeting my favourite artist to sign my own piece of him came flooding back, I loved this small building nestled on the cobbles of one of the more peaceful areas of my hometown and I'm even more in love with it now. Jo Malone Cambridge Shop Cat had booked us in for a complimentary arm and hand massage treatment with the beautiful Amie, a passionate ambassador of the brand who travels from Norwich to Cambridge every day for her job, she's impressively dedicated to her work and I think I would be too if I worked for this elegant brand. As soon as you walk up the steps into this sophisticated parlour, you are greeted with friendly smiles and a homely scent that relaxes even the most stressed of human being immediately. Everything is displayed on glass shelves, from body and hand washes, colognes and spritzers through to candles, body oils, shampoos and cremes, everything can be sampled, in fact that is very much encouraged. What I loved most about his experience was that we weren't pounced on as soon as we walked through the door, you're given time to browse and there's a member of staff on hand if you need help. Personally, I would usually be too scared to ask for advice, I'd simply sniff everything and try to make an informed decision after overloading myself with an array of lotions and potions... ...my advice? Jo Malone Cambridge Shop Book yourself in for a complimentary, no obligation arm and hand massage treatment. It was the best hour of my day and it's (without wanting to sound cheesy) changed my complete outlook on perfumes and scents for the better. I'm a girl who actually prefers to wear men's deodorants and sprays, I love the deeper, spicier smells and I like to make an impact when I walk into a room. I sometimes feel that the lighter, feminine scents don't stay with me for as long. This stems back to accidentally buying a male spray in my teenage years and sticking with these sort of smells ever since. The Jo Malone range is in fact unisex, not that I'd share any of these stunning products, but they will smell different on everyone and they can be combined to produce unique and personalised scents to match your taste. We both sat at the comfortable massage table and were introduced to the Jo Malone shop, offered a chilled glass of lime water and discussed our current scents whilst Amie really got into what turns us on within a scent. She picked up on our preferances and produced their orange blossom bath oil at first, using a mini coffee whisk to whip it up into a thick foam in which she massaged our hands and arms to get them feeling silky and smooth, offering a similar experience to lathering up in the bath - it almost sent us to sleep! Jo Malone Cambridge Shop After rinsing off this lathered bath oil with a hot scented towel, she then massaged us using their peony & blush suede body creme, which was so thick and heavenly, you didn't need much to benefit from this and I could have easily sat there all afternoon, it was lovely. If only every morning could be like this when it comes to getting ready! What Amie was teaching us was that creating a memorable and long-lasting perfume isn't simply a quick spritz and away you go, you need to layer your body with varying products and complimenting scents to create something that will linger and make an impression. This isn't something I'd ever thought of doing and am usually guilty of dousing myself (and my clothing!)  in cheaper sprays in the hope they'll last...they usually don't and now I know why. She then finished by showing us how to choose the perfect cologne and how to apply it, by spraying ever so lightly onto our arms, then dabbing it with her palms up the length of our arms. I went for "154", a scent that includes mandarin, grapefruit, lavender, basil, nutmeg and vetiver. This combination of scents was stunning, I've never loved the way I've smelled so much in my entire life, with honestly no exaggeration. A small bottle of cologne costs around £40 and the body creme around £50, making this a very tricky decision for somebody on a tight budget, so I decided to take my time on my purchases and come back another day, which was absolutely fine. What I didn't expect was that I would spend the rest of the day pressing my nose up against my arms, taking in long draws of breath to enjoy the aromas soaking into my body. I woke up the next morning and I had received a text from Cat advising me that she still smelled amazing, to which I took another whiff and confirmed that I did too... This was so alien to me, I never stay smelling so great for that period of time, this was some kind of luxury voodoo! I sat on my hands all morning until I couldn't bare it any longer, I roped in another friend for a coffee in town and we just so happened to be "passing" Jo Malone. We spent some time in other luxury scent shops, but they just didn't were never going to cut it for me, so Kass took me by the arm and marched me to Jo Malone to just get it over with. As of today, I'm walking into rooms and causing a sensation...! Jo Malone London I visited my local BBC radio station this morning and the first thing the presenter said to me was just how delicious I smelled, before absolutely anything else. My whole reasoning for wanting a new scent was to make an impact when networking my little behind off and after just one hour of wearing my new combination, it's only gone and worked, I'm so stupidly impressed I just had to share this fascinating experience from a gal who very rarely pampers herself of late! Money. Well. Spent. Jo Malone London, (in Cambridge specifically)... I curse AND salute you in equal measures, as well as very much look forward to the new wood sage & sea salt scent due out in September - I could be very tempted shouldn't be allowed to pop back anytime soon! You have a new convert and ambassador in "Miss Sue Flay"! Miss Sue Flay Logo   www.jomalone.co.uk  

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Around The World In 80 Stays

Greek Church 80 Stays I don't know about you, but I get itchy feet from time to time and lately... well, I've not stopped itching! I'm not too adventurous when it comes to travel, I've visited Egypt alone on a day trip to Cairo whilst holidaying in Cyprus, but that's about it. I've taken myself to Cornwall, Devon, the Lake District and have enjoyed a beautiful & snowy weekend break in Prague, but something is missing from my life. After all of the redundancies and other such exciting moments in life, it's now a little calmer, I'm happily running my business and support network over at StirUpMedia.com and I'm allowing myself to work from wherever I may be sat in the world. Reviewing hotels and spas across the UK has given me an appetite for bigger and more exciting things and I've decided to set myself a little interesting challenge.... I'm going to travel around the world in 80 stays.  30 before 30 This might find me jetting off to Milan, hot-air ballooning across the desert, cruising on the med, or enjoying a weekend break in New York... or it could just see me taking a poodle up to Edinburgh for a day or two... I'm very excited! I'm opening my mind, allowing myself to say yes to opportunities that I may have once said no to and I'm going to see where it takes me.  I am on a slight budget have no money saved up to do this, so I'm going to be relying on time (to save up the pennies where needed) and on the generosity creativity of my new friends and yourselves to help me along the way and to make this a unique itinerary - I want to stay in places people won't get a chance to stay on a normal trip! Perhaps you have a friend who goes away on business a lot and they their cat needs feeding in their LA Manchester apartment whilst they're away (i'm trained to a Royal standard in Household Management, so I'm perfect for house sitting!)... or you might need some help for a few days on a project and are happy to offer me a bed & some home-cooked food to earn my keep! The support of my readers and social media followers will be important.. a stay could be with a friend, not just in a hotel. I'd love to sample supper clubs or real family meals around a table with cultured strangers (and brand new friends to be made!) and I may even agree to car sharing with somebody off on their own adventures who may be in need of some company. Egypt 80 Stays I'm going to attempt to be a "yes" girl and see where the wind takes me... Any ideas where I should hop off to first?... Paris? Texas? Australia? Cardiff? Sicily? Peru? Essex? I'd love to hear from you if you can make any suggestions, offer an interesting experience or stay and I'll be blogging every single stay, from a day out through to mini adventure. I'll be taking selfies, photos and writing journal-type posts as I go, it's one rather large idea and one that all of a sudden is starting to feel quite overwhelming...   Bring it on!    If you are on Twitter, follow my progress and chat to me @MissSueFlay...I've even created a hashtag #80stays plane Egypt 80 Stays

Thursday, 31 July 2014

#AfternoonTeaWeekChallenge: An Instagram Challenge

Afternoon Tea Week Instagram Challenge with Miss Sue Flay Are you as infatuated with afternoon tea as the craziest of afternoon tea fanatics? Recently I learnt (after a visit on a fantastic afternoon tea BUS in London!) of a national afternoon tea week organised by the British Afternoon Tea Guide and I have decided to create my own way to connect afternoon tea addicts through the power of Instagram. This is my favourite social media platform for showing off my afternoon tea adventures with pretty filters over stunning afternoon tea offerings and I thought how great it would be to get everyone else as barmy as me about tea and cake together to do the same and connect whilst doing so... I recently enjoyed taking part in a favourite blogger of mine's own Instagram challenge (#RadicalSelfLoveJuly) and I enjoyed doing this so much that I thought I would put my own spin on this idea. Starting on 11th August, I'm planning to use Instagram to enjoy a week of afternoon tea treats... and I would absolutely love for you all to join me! All you need to do is put the hashtag #AfternoonTeaWeekChallenge on your pictures and posts. With this hashtag, you'll be able to explore the wonderful world of afternoon tea and enjoy seeing what other treats people are enjoying out there throughout the week. This should also help anyone who's struggling to get to grips with Instagram and gives you a fun way to get used to this fun and social network whilst nibbling on a cream tea or enjoying a good old fashioned cuppa.

#AfternoonTeaWeekChallenge

 Afternoon Tea Week Instagram Challenge with Miss Sue Flay 11th August: Mini Afternoon Tea Say hello to the rest of the afternoon tea nutters out there and enjoy an elevenses or a early afternoon indulgence over a book, bath or some other relaxing and inventive way to enjoy afternoon tea. It may just be a cupcake and your favourite brew, show us your style. 12th August: Etiquette of Afternoon Tea Do you enjoy afternoon tea, being the perfect host and the more traditional ways to eat your scone or drink your tea? Or perhaps you know nothing of afternoon tea etiquette? Are you a biscuit dunker? Do you starch your napkins? Show us your manners... the good, the bad and even the ugly. 13th August: An Unusual Afternoon Tea Get creative, put your own spin on a traditional afternoon tea and create a themed spread or enjoy a new and unusual afternoon at a top hotel or venue. Snap a photo that captures your different or darn right quirky tea table. 14th August: Your own Afternoon Tea What makes the perfect afternoon tea? Perhaps you have a "go to" recipe, the most fool-proof scones or a unique tea blend that works well with your home baked treats. Show us your passion when it comes to a cream tea, share it with your family or friends. 15th August: The Perfect Finger Sandwich How do you make yours? Crusts on or off? Square, round or open-topped? Do you choose the traditional one filling per sandwich or do you like to mix flavours and fillings and satisfy more modern tastes? Take a picture or make a video of your perfect sarnie. 16th August: Al Fresco Afternoon Tea  Get away from your usual surroundings and enjoy an afternoon tea out in the big wide world. Do you like to sip champagne up in the air on a hot air balloon ride or enjoy a family get together over a rustic picnic in the forest? Share your afternoon tea adventures. 17th August: Your Favourite Tea If you were stuck on a desert island, which one tea would you rather be stranded with? Where is your favourite tea shop or supplier? Show us your favourite teas and the people around it... Miss Sue Flay Afternoon Tea Catering What if I miss a day? No worries at all, just catch up as you fancy, there's no pressure. Can I post the #AfternoonTeaWeekChallenge graphics to my Instagram/Twitter?  Yes, please do! It's a great way to share the afternoon tea love and you can use it to refer to, simply use the hashtag when posting it please.   Enjoy!   Miss Sue Flay Logo     This post is in no means sponsored, simply my idea to have some fun on Instagram and share the afternoon tea love, baby!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

All Aboard The BB Bus For #AfternoonTeaWeek

Afternoon Tea Week BB Bus National Afternoon Tea Week is coming to town in August and what better way to start celebrating it than to think about (and scoff down!) some afternoon tea?! It's thought that the tradition of afternoon tea was started by the seventh Duchess of Bedford when she needed to fill "that sinking feeling" with some sweet treats between meals and it is now known as a quintessentially British pastime of which we really don't argue. National Afternoon Tea Week has been created to celebrate this humble tradition with a week full of activities, themed menus and special offers (up to 25% discount off a range of afternoon tea offerings) within over 50 establishments across the UK throughout August (11th - 17th). With venues such as The Dorchester, Sketch and The Corinthia Hotel in London through to a castle in Gloucestershire, there's an exciting buzz around this event and it's fantastic to see such established afternoon tea venues getting involved to offer something special to locals and tourists alike. Afternoon Tea Week BB Bus Not only are the more traditional venues getting involved, but some more unusual locations are popping up to support this annual event, including the BB Routemaster afternoon tea bus in London. This is an old fashioned double decker bus called "Rodney" and as it glides past the tourist hotspots of our fine Capital, it serves a divine and French-inspired high tea to keep your sweet tooth satisfied for the rest of the week! The BB Bakery team are based in Covent Garden, where you can enjoy an afternoon tea or champagne tea as well as their private catering offerings, they are a family-run business with a flair for the finer delights in life. They have decided to take their afternoon tea on the road, quite literally, providing a new way to enjoy our favourite way to eat cake and drink tea... as if I need much of an excuse?! This week I took to Jubilee Gardens next to the London Eye to meet a group of fellow afternoon tea lovers for a preview tour with the BB team (albeit the hottest day of the year!) for a couple of hours. We were met with a glass of champagne (I was loving them already!) and a stunning spread at each leather-seated bus section with tiers of filled ciabattas & finger sandwiches, quiches and french sweet treats, we got stuck in before the engine had even roared. Afternoon Tea Week BB Bus At £45 per person for this afternoon tea tour, you certainly do get a lot for your money, with everything above just for starters. Their lemon meringue tart was divine, I may have sneaked a second just to be sure it was everything I thought it was... it was the best meringue I've ever tasted. And don't get me started on their chocolate tart, with a deep and rich chocolate ganache, it would have been perfect with a raspberry on the side to cut through it, a must-have for any serious chocoholic. Whilst we ordered our French-sourced loose leaf tea and awaited delivery in large porcelain coffee-style cups with lids, we gazed out of the window and saw the culture and historic sights that London has to offer, spotting some of the most famous landmarks of our fair City. We bumbled past Big Ben, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Marble Arch, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square to name but a few sightings before heading back to the London Eye for our drop-off. The BB Bakery team couldn't do enough to make us feel at home, topping up our glasses with champagne, offering us chilled orange juice and water, freshly baked fruit scones with strawberry jam and Roddas Clotted Cream as well as miniature cupcakes and macarons to top us all off - we were well and truly full to the rafters by the time we descended back into the street! Afternoon Tea Week BB Bus This bus tour lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes and we listened to the team tell us about their family-run bakery in Covent Garden and the exciting plans they have to bring a second route master to life with a fantastically "British" name to match "Rodney" - can you guess it?!  You can even hire the BB bus privately for an event or function, even a wedding reception on the go - I love this idea! If booking for your own event, you can request different pick-up and drop-off points too, it's a very unusual way to enjoy afternoon tea. And if you love afternoon tea, check out www.afternoontea.co.uk for their upcoming events and offers for #AfternoonTeaWeek between 11th and 17th August 2014- a week after my own heart! I'm plotting a mini afternoon tea challenge on Instagram for #AfternoonTeaWeek so be sure to come back to the blog very shortly for more info and to get involved! Afternoon Tea Week BB Bus 3   Miss Sue Flay Logo   www.bbbakery.co.uk This trip was complimentary, following a visit to view this venue and meet the team. I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do email: hello@misssueflay.com All images © 2014 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.  

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Brain Melt After The Blogcademy London

The Blogcademy London Miss Sue Flay By Of Girl Sign Shoreditch

It's been one FULL on weekend, full of inspiration when it comes to blogging & social media as well as an exciting opportunity to meet 30 passionate bloggers and I've made plenty of new friendships over the last 3 or 4 days - it's been an amazing experience.

I can't recount everything I've learnt right now, there is so much to take in, I've actually had to take a day out just to breath and gather my thoughts - it's been more overwhelming that I had imagined it might be. Instagram also got a hammering, I don't think I've used it so much in a while, I've become addicted once again - oh dear!

The Blogcademy London Miss Sue Flay

That's no bad thing, I must say - I've got huge plans and very itchy feet now that I'm a free woman... I'm my own boss and I have dreams and thoughts about travelling all over the place, I have a need and it must be fulfilled.

Now to just figure out how to do this and start seeing some of the world... I need to leave my little "Cambridge Bubble" and experience a new lifestyle. In the meantime, I leave you with some pictures of a fantastic weekend at The Blogcademy in London! 

Where to first?!...

The Blogcademy London Miss Sue Flay

Miss Sue Flay Logo

www.theblogcademy.com

 

Friday, 18 July 2014

What's Happened To Miss Sue Flay?! (An Honest Update)

Miss Sue Flay Stir Up MediaOk... I'm blogging "freestyle" here, no plans, no rules, no worries, just me and my thoughts to fill you all in on why I've been so quiet of late. So, firstly, I've been busy starting up a new business... Stir Up Media was born a few months ago from my love of media, social media and of course blogging & writing. I've built my brand as "Miss Sue Flay over these years through these platforms and I'm now offering my personal services to help other brands or businesses to do the same. If I can help you in any way, please do drop me a line, I would love to help you out with my business-to-business services or perhaps some training and workshops. I'm about to join a very exciting collaborative workspace on a farm in the Cambridgeshire countryside and we have plans ahoy, so if you're interested in the same passions as me, or want to learn from me, then head over to Stir Up Media, sign up to my mailing list, read my blog and enjoy following my social media channels through this new offering. Thank you in advance for your support on this one! I know a few people have recently wondered what I'm up to, so I feel a quick update could be handy for the readers who might be interested. In fact, this weekend is monumental for me... for several reasons. Miss Sue Flay Stir Up MediaIt's a very emotional/bizarre day for me today... As of 6pm this Friday evening, I will be officially self-employed 100%! I've been working as a nanny/household manager for the last 19 months (since my redundancy from Play.com - not many people know this is where I started my Twitter infatuation whilst juggling work & my Miss Sue Flay persona!) and today I'm leaving the part-time role I have with this family to focus on Stir Up Media 100%. This means I can take on even more clients and projects and plan a very exciting future, it's a little daunting, but it's the right time. I've had SO much fun looking after these two guys and I'm going to miss them so much, but it's time to focus and look to a future of self sufficiency - I certainly won't miss that school run every weekday! "Miss Sue Flay" is still here, still enjoying food & drink, hotels & spas and of course, her afternoon tea... it's my passion, my hobby and this blog is going nowhere. I'm planning a few new reviews in the near future and I'm headed to a very exciting and top secret afternoon tea next week - so you'll have to keep an eye on my Twitter & Facebook to find out where I'm off to if you can't wait for the blogs! Cat Miss Sue Flay Stir Up MediaAnother reason being that I am headed to London with the gorgeous Cat of The Teatime Treatery (a great cake friend of mine) where we will be joining Kat Williams, Gala Darling & Shauna Haider at Blogcademy in a trendy venue in Shoreditch. This is a very exciting 2 day workshop, all based around the world of blogging and these ladies make it seriously fun... I've lusted over a spot on this course for years and I've finally decided to take the plunge to help me get my blogging mojo back! I've been blogging lots of business advice and freelancing inspiration through Stir Up Media and I think I've been so focussed on this side of things that Miss Sue Flay has been neglected a little - I know, I know, just terrible, but all is not lost - I have plans galore!  I have no real idea what to expect, all I know is that I am going to learn a heck of a lot and meet some pretty awesome people over the next few days... I'm nervous, excited, a little scared and very intrigued to see where the course content will take my overactive imagination...! So, watch this space... and my social media activity over the next few days (and weeks!) - It'll no doubt be filled with new blogging inspiration and some very pretty pictures. Cat Miss Sue Flay Stir Up MediaCat and I also have plotted a few food pitstops whilst we are visiting the capital, naturally! So excited! Here's to a very exciting weekend/week ahead/future!!! Wish me luck...eek! Miss Sue Flay