Five Feel-Good Films

I finally got a fix of sitting on my sofa over the weekend and it was JOYOUS! I’m sure the novelty will soon wear off but for now, I have a list as long as my arm of series and films I want to watch. Thank god for an excessive number of on-demand services that we have subscribed ourselves to! In lieu of the opportunity to go to the cinema and if you've already exhausted the new releases, I have hand-picked five oldies but goodies to snuggle down under a blanket and while the hours away!

FILM 1: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
For a singalong and to marvel at Potts’ genius at-home inventions that you now have that time on your hands to recreate yourself! Although, I’d avoid the bowl haircut if at all possible!!

FILM 2: First Wives Club 
This may be my all time favourite film and with the trio of Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton, you are guarantee some serious shoulder-pan wearing girl power. 

FILM 3: Notting Hill
An ode to London which I am missing my daily fix! I just love the scene where Hugh Grant is walking down Portobello Road and the seasons change. It is absolutely incredible cinematography! Plus, the soundtrack to this film is 100!! 

FILM 4: Sliding Doors
Again, a London fix and in particular many scenes filmed in my much-loved Hammersmith. After binging The Goop Lab at the weekend, I’m on a massive Gwyneth bender and this is my favourite film of their! I’ve also just finished reading a similar concept in book-form - The Two Lives of Lydia Bird - so I’m totally in the zone for this!

FILM 5: Home Alone (1 and 2)
It may be a long time until Christmas but it certainly feels like those days in between Boxing Day and New Year, doesn’t it? The ones where you don’t leave the house, are marooned on the sofa, eating your kitchen cupboards bare and never bothering to get out your pyjamas. Yup, so it’s only fitting that you have a laugh and escape with Kevin McCallister and clan. Plus, perhaps it’ll remind you of the things you can do at-home whilst in isolation… jumping on the bed eating popcorn? Sledging down your stairs?

What are your favourite old-school films?

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Motherly Advice

Sometimes there's nothing better than a conversation with your Mum. I'm lucky enough that I can pick up the phone and bother her once, if not twice, a day. For me, it's the perfect start to the day as I'm walking to the station. From the utterly mundane chit-chat to the calls for advice, there is no one quite like my mum to check in with, provide some perspective and make me smile. Now, more than ever, this is so treasured. As we have all just experienced a rather strange Mother's Day this year, I wanted to ask my mother, Valerie, a few questions to mark the occasion. I'm especially intrigued to know how she's feeling about becoming a grandmother herself for the first time later this year!

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WHAT'S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU REMEMBER YOUR MUM GAVE YOU?

I don’t remember my mother sitting down and giving me one particular piece of advice, but by her being a loving, supportive mother who I could rely on to have my best interests at heart, I modelled myself on her. I thought she’d done a pretty good job! The main thing she demonstrated was that being a mother is not the same as being a friend. It’s like no other job; you’re a carer, a guide, an influencer... you’re so many things wrapped up in one. If you like someone and enjoy their company you become friends. A mother is soooo much more than that.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MOTHER?

For me the best thing about being a mother is that it’s my most significant achievement. Nothing I’ve done, before or since, can top it. It’s also the beginning of a whole new adventure. You're experiencing the world in this new role, while watching them growing and learning about it too. It’s like a trip to the fun-fare, full of different experiences; highs and lows, twists and turns, hilarious moments and scary moments, but mainly lots of fun with opportunities to create a host of happy memories.

WHAT WAS ROSE LIKE GROWING UP?

Mischievous, cute and incredibly affectionate and loving. Very much her own character. She and her older sister could fall out but most of the time they got on well together. They would put on shows to entertain us; dressing up, creating sketches and making up dances to pop songs, which they’d sing along to. Music and dance was a big part of Rose’s life and she had some wonderful experiences, which we were able to enjoy with her.

IF YOU COULD PICK ONE MOMENT THAT REALLY STANDS OUT TO YOU THROUGHOUT HER CHILDHOOD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Far too many wonderful memories for me to choose from Rose’s childhood. One memory that stands out though was when she was 18, dressed in her evening gown for the school Leaver’s Ball and realising my gorgeous little girl had grown into a kind and beautiful young woman. I thought to myself I’d done a good job in raising her (of course, with lots of help from her father!)

WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD LIKE?

My childhood was a happy one, playing ball games with friends in the neighbourhood. We had a musical family and my parents had some lovely friends. I enjoyed seeing and hearing them laughing together. There were long summer days when school holidays seemed to last forever. I enjoyed taking part in musical productions, singing in choirs and playing piano and violin. I followed in my mother’s footsteps and made my own clothes, which I wore to the many parties I went to in my teens. I gave up trying to master knitting, like my mum and sister, and was taught how to crochet by the elderly lady next door. Mostly happy memories, although in Junior School I did have a horrible teacher and hated going to school for a year, but this was followed by another teacher who was brilliant!

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BECOMING A GRANDMOTHER?

Very excited and reminded of my own days when I was expecting. It’s nice that all those bits and pieces I’ve kept over the years will get to see the light of day again. It’s going to be fun! I’ve been told by several people that you love your kids but you’ll love your grandchildren even more! I find that hard to believe but I’m really looking forward to finding out.

BEST ADVICE FOR A MOTHER-TO-BE?

Talk to and listen to your child. Play with them and guide them. They can teach us just as we can teach them. Avoid being overprotective and do your best not to ignore them when they are trying to interact with you. (Though there may, of course, be times when this just isn't possible!) Set aside time to do family things (I'd love to have had more days out). Try not to be a controlling parent or a guilt tripping one. Take the best parts of your own care from your mother, dump the rest, and pat yourself on the back for doing the best you can. Remember they train teachers for three years and doctors for seven plus years, but there is no training to be a parent. Your role is to love and care for them. Simples!

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE MOTTO OR MANTRA?

Life is for living, look for the positives and laugh at least once every day.

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My mother, aside from as her wise words and advice, is where I get a lot of my creativity. After many years working as a Television Script Supervisor on situation comedies (yep, she even got me a part as an Extra on As Time Goes By with Dame Judi Dench!). Valerie now spends her days in her workshop, as a fused glass artist, for her artisan business Glassophony. She is also a Laughter Yoga Leader and provides care and support in the community. Her latest venture is creating Facebook video content from inside her greenhouse!

All for now,
Rose

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In light of the social distancing and self-isolation, the photography I've used in this blog celebrates the beautiful magnolia which blooms in my parents' garden every March / April. In fact, it's usually always in bloom around my birthday in April so is known as 'Rose's Magnolia'.


READ NOW: When my Mother took me to Laughter Yoga.

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40+ TV Shows to Bring You Joy

This is such a conventional post given the circumstances but never has a TV recommendation been more required!! Given I'm subscribed to Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky, I am beyond spoilt for choice when it comes to at-home entertainment. The problem I encounter more often than not, and I'm sure you do too in your household, is the incessant scrolling and indecision which loses at least half an hour to looking through the options. Sometimes, you just want a trusty recommendation that can guarantee you some escapism from the real world.

In exchange for this gift of personal recommendations, please supply me with some new series to watch in the comments section below! I have a few on my radar including The Morning Show (Apple TV), Love is Blind (Netflix), The Nest (BBC), Goop Lab (Netflix) and Breeders (Sky).

BINGE-WORTHY BOXSETS...

This Is Us
Wanderlust
Delicious
Big Little Things
Divorce
You
The Handmaid's Tale
Good Girls
Dead to Me
Love
Modern Love
The Marvellous Mrs Maisel
Fleabag
Crasing (an early Phoebe Waller Bridge special)

IF YOU LOVE...WHO DUNNITS

Sharp Objects
Deadwater Fell
Capture
White Farm House
Silent Witness
The Fall
The Night Of
The Trial of Gabriel Fernandez (should come with a *distressing* warning)
The Stranger
Marcella
Whitechapel

COUPLE-SAFE VIEWING...

Killing Eve
Stranger Things
Billions
The Night Manager
Peaky Blinders
Suits
Tin Star
Ozark
Riviera

IF YOU LOVE... PERIOD DRAMAS

The Crown
A Very English Scandal
The Trial of Christine Keeler
Versailles
War & Peace
Victoria
Mrs Wilson
Alexandra The Great
Game of Thrones 
Poldark
Gentleman Jack
Death and Nightingales 

Don't forget to send me your recommendations via Instagram @rose.tinted.spectacles or in the comments section below! Happy viewing!


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Best of... Books


When you become the ‘go-to’ person in the office for book recommendations, you know you have made it! I am very content and happy with that status! Though the official office Book Club may have got off to a rocky start (blame Three Women and the dodgy creme egg scene), the unofficial book club has been called into effect. This essentially requires any one person to ask ‘What book should I take on holiday with me?’ and I’m off. Better yet, I thought I should pen a post about the recent books I have loved. Somehow, I managed to read 57 books last year alone and I realise how excessive that sounds. That is quite an achievement for the person who didn’t much like reading until their early twenties* (*the exception being Harry Potter. Obvs.) So, to curate a shortlist of my favourite 2019 reads is no easy feat so when I say these books are the “best of”, that roughly translates to GET YOURSELF TO WATERSTONES PRONTO!

Top 3 Audiobooks 

Michelle Obama: Becoming

What better way to start the year (or month or week as your case may be) than reading this incredible memoir from a remarkable woman. I could literally insert ALL the empowering and wise quotes here but you really should read them for yourself. I had no idea of Michelle’s upbringing and how she came to meet Barrack, not to mention their journey to parenthood, the White House and beyond. This is definitely a book I will re-read again and again.

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.” - Michelle Obama | Becoming

Maisie Hill: Period Power 

I literally tell ALL my girlfriends about this book and the ‘four seasons’ approach to your monthly cycle has already spread around the office. An “Are you feeling okay, hun?” over the desk has been answered with an “Yeah, I’m just in Autumn” and you know  what they mean! I feel so passionately about this book that it should be on the National Curriculum (but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is anything like those Biology lessons from school.) Maisie Hill, a women’s health specialist, has packed this book with answers. Answers to questions such as ‘Why is my period so light/short/long/heavy? Why are they so frequent/regular/rare? Why have they stopped all together?’ and so much more. This book is fundamentally about understanding what is happening in your body and “improving hormonal and menstrual health”. It is crazy how little of this information about MY body I knew! Go forth and get to know your cycle.

“It is not acceptable that menstrual cycles are dismissed because they don’t apply to half of the population. People with wombs are not a niche.” Maisie Hill | Period Power

Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey: She Said

When the Harvey Weinstein story broke, it was shocking, disturbing and the ripples throughout Hollywood became giant waves of the #MeToo movement. This book chronicles the origins of the claims, the victims who were brave enough to tell their story, and how it came to hit the headlines, written by the two female journalists at the New York Times.

“Jodi cut to the point: The United States had a system for muting sexual harassment claims, which often enabled the harassers instead of stopping them. Women routinely signed away the right to talk about their own experiences. Harassers often continued onward, finding fresh ground on which to commit the same offenses.”  - Jodi Kantor | She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement

Top 3 Kindle Books

Sarah Haywood: The Cactus 

For all the fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine this is a book for you and what a debut from Sarah Haywood it is! The Cactus follows Susan Green, a well-ordered, logical woman of her routine when her well-ordered life is suddenly thrown out of order with a surprise pregnancy and loss of her mother. It’s in essence a love story but with a complex, intriguing and feminist protagonist.

“But these days fairy-tale endings come in all shapes and sizes. It’s Oka y for the princess to end up with a prince, it’s okay for her to end up with a footman, and it’s okay for her to end up on her own. It’s okay for her to end up with another princess, or with six cats, or to decide she wants to be a prince. None of those make her any more of less a feminist. It’s about finding out who you are and what you want, and then being true to it.” - Sarah Haywood | The Cactus

Josie Silver: One Day in December

This book can literally be read one day in December. I was OBSESSED with this love story from the moment I started it. Following a ‘love at first sight’ experience that she can’t forget, the man from the bus stop turns up as her best friend’s boyfriend. With a similar vibe to One Day, this really is an incredible, easy-reading, addictive story.

“If anyone ever asks if I've ever fallen in love at first sight, I shall say yes. For one glorious moment on the 21st of December 2006.” - Josie Silver | One Day in December

Paige Toon: If You Could Go Anywhere

This is Paige’s latest book but if you’re new to this author, you can honestly pick up any one of her books! I've never known an author who can tell a love story quite like Paige Toon! This story follows Angie, 29, who has never left the small Australian mining town she grew up in with her grandmother. After a few shocking revelations, Angie packs her bags for Italy in the search of the father she never knew and, of course, there is a love story that will captivate you along the way!

“Fireworks are exciting to begin with, but they get a bit tired after a while and then all you're left with are charred remains. There is something to be said for a slow burn that keeps you warm as the years go by.” - Paige Toon, If You Could Go Anywhere

Top 3 Paperback Books

Taylor Jenkin Reid: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Having listened to Daisy Jones and the Six on Audible and LOVED IT, I was hoping my second read by the same author wouldn’t disappoint… and it certainly didn’t! I literally inhaled this book whilst by the pool in Marrakech. It was incredible and quite different to the kind of story I had judged it to be by its title. I felt absolutely invested in the character of Evelyn and utterly emotionally involved in the telling of her life story. PLEASE READ!

“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is 'you're safe with me'- that's intimacy.” - Taylor Jenkins Reid | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Beth O’Leary: The Flatshare

A serious MUST-READ! The relationship that evokes from the two main characters - Tiffy and Leon - have a 12 hour rent pattern on a bedroom (and a bed); one occupies by day, while the other by night. What evolves is a friendship between these two people as they get to know each other through fragments of their lives left in the room and shared via notes. It is an intoxicating story which had me wanting to cancel plans and read under the dinner table.  

"I wake with a jolt that sends a shock of pain through my ankle. Crying out, I look around me. Floral wallpaper. Am I at home? Who's that man in the chair by the door, reading .... "Twilight?" Leon blinks at me, putting the book down in his lap. 'You went from unconscious to judgemental very quickly there." - Beth O'Leary | The Flatshare

Sally Rooney: Conversations with Friends

It had a tough act to follow after the sensation that was Normal People but this is still a blooming good read. Following two college students (and lovers) - Frances and Bobbi - the story follows their relationship and the impact of meeting a married couple who have their own treasure trove of issues which causes a ripple effect. In true Rooney style (or what I’m learning is her style), the characters are complex and flawed which gives them a distinctly ‘real’ quality. 

“You can love more than one person, she said. That's arguable. Why is it any different from having more than one friend? You're friends with me and you also have other friends, does that mean you don't really value me? I don't have other friends, I said.” - Sally Rooney | Conversations with Friends 
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Please share your book recommendations with me in the comments section below! My year hasn’t started with the same vigour as last year so I have some catching up to do and there’s no better way than a book that is going to suck me in!

All for now,
Rose (from behind her bookworm spectacles)

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Our New House: Home Haul

Buying a house can be a costly endeavour, not to mention a stressful time. Whilst the process is a bit like piece of string, you never know quite how long it will take you from accepted offer to keys in hand, trying to plan a good time for it is near impossible. From our own experience, I can entirely recommend the big crescendo of packing boxes and removal van hire in December, a few weeks before Christmas. And, to top it off, insisting that we host (read: show off) our new home at Christmas. Well… it probably wasn’t our best idea but it sure does fast-track you to getting your house ship-shape and shiny for the masses to descend. Who am I kidding? I definitely had my mother-in-low painting furniture and the husband putting pictures up on Christmas Eve. 
Now the memory of Christmas has started to fade, the decorations are collecting dust in their residence in the loft, our house is now very much feeling like a home. But I wanted to share some fun we’ve had shopping for new items.

But first, a note on upcycling…
We were incredibly lucky to be offered some furniture from a relative who was down-sizing which was perfect timing as we were upsizing from a one-bedroom flat to a three-bedroom house. Loaded onto the truck on the first stop on Moving Day was a matching chest of drawers and dressing table and a sideboard. Drawers have never made me so happy! Before the gins had been poured, my Mother-in-Law (let’s just call her Angel Upcycle) had purchased some sanding paper and pots of paint. The finished articles are better than new and perfectly match our colour scheme! Check out your nearest British Heart Foundation furniture stores for pre-loved items, Freecycle and Facebook marketplace for absolute steals.

Gadgets…
We have not one, not two, but three Amazon Alexa’s. Yes I’m aware it’s quite insane but my husband is on a mission to make our house “smart”, starting with the lights. We set each other a Christmas present brief: ‘house-related’ and ‘under £50’. Well, really I have myself to blamewhy on Christmas Day I’ve open a box of… strip lighting. Sexy. I think it was a case of being gifted a gift that my husband actually wanted for himself! 

But actually it’s much cooler than I first thought and I now have the kitchen low-lighting I always wanted! Subsequent Boxing Day purchases later, Philips Hue lighting has now taken over the entire house. We can now operate our lights remotely by App or voice-activated with Alexa. We can also, if we so wish, change the colour of our lighting to one of any 16 million colours. So far, I’ve dabbled most with green and pink… I’m avoiding red for obvious reasons, I don’t want the neighbours to get the wrong idea! My favourite feature is that you can ask for lighting based on mood or task, such as ‘energising’, ‘reading’, ‘focus’ or ‘relax’. It takes laziness up a notch and somewhat ties us to our phones all the more but the novelty hasn’t worn off yet! Shop Philips Hue at John Lewis

All the fragranced stuff…
Our house had been previously uninhabited for a few months and when I first stepped inside the house on a cold December evening, it had a hint of empty, old house about it. Cue an immediate trolley-dash of Sainsburys to find plug-ins and diffusers to dot around the home. My stash of fragranced candles were boxed up and who knew when I would uncover them! Enter Ambi Pur 3Volution Plug In (£3) and Air Freshener Diffuser (£5) - available in Cotton Fresh and Blossom and Breeze, Vanilla Blossom, Lavender. Remember hearing that your nose gets used to new smells after a short period? The trick with these is that the 3 scents alternate every 45 minutes so you always notice them, and more importantly, your house always smells delightful. I love these little things and have one in my hallway, kitchen and landing. 

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Change is afoot

It's a new season (well, almost... I'm counting the fact we are in March as pretty much Spring arriving!), and with it is a time for change. It's been a while in the thinking and more flippant in the making (I just decided today was The Day) but the change is for all to see. After four years as MrsAtoB.com, I am transitioning this little corner of the internet into something that more accurately reflects where I am now and the content I want to be producing on this blog. 'Mrs A to B' was born at a time when I was still Miss L and soon becoming Mrs A. I was also on the brink of a big transition that not only saw me go from single entity to coupledom, but also travelling literally from A to B on a "travel-moon" of a lifetime!

When I first started writing for enjoyment, I was eighteen going on nineteen, with a loaned backpack in tow and backpacking around Asia, Australia and New Zealand (the very standard gap year travels). It was my way of keeping everyone back at home up to date with my adventures thousands of miles away from the nest. Not only do I have a catalogue of memories as a result of those long, essay-style emails I sent as 'round robins' but I had such wonderful feedback on my writing that it spurred me on to keep going once I was back and starting University. I knew, as I approached the second "big trip" of my lifetime, I wanted to document it for more than just my contact list to see... hence, the arrival of this website. Perfectionist that I am, I had to buy a designed template (thanks Pipdig), the domain name, the whole kit and caboodle. 

Mrs A to B also made sense whilst we moved from London to New York and documenting our experience adapting to a new country we called 'home'. But since then, and multiple times being called 'Mrs Atob' I just felt I was drifting away from what that stood for. I am not a travel blogger, my holidays are sacrosanct for lying on a sun lounger, slathered in Factor 50 and with my head in as many books as possible. I work 40+ hours a week in an office in London creating content for a British haircare brand so any time I have outside of then *and* when I'm feeling inspired to write is few and far between. These days, A to B is more literally our suburban house to the office and back so it felt a little mis-leading to keep writing under that name.

So, all hail the new website address (and matching Instagram handle) for all to see what goes down behind my 'Rose Tinted Spectacles'. I hope you'll enjoy the adhoc blog content that I post over the coming months. I figure the longer daylight hours and more time spent sat on trains should hopefully mean lots of book and TV (read: Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.) recommendations and lifestyle content. There are other changes afoot that I'm sure I'll be sharing in due course and that certainly means that what I'll be writing will, more than ever, just be my life on the page for all to witness, laugh at, empathise with and, most importantly, enjoy reading. 

All for now,
Rose (and her tinted spectacles)

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