22 December 2017

Farewell 2017...

Farewell 2017

So ends another year - and my, oh my, has it been a memorable one!

We laughed lots, and we cried.

We went to Amsterdam - one of our best holidays yet. It’s a city we both fell utterly in love with.

We ate lots of delicious food. Maybe too much at times?

Farewell 2017

We became tourists in our own country, exploring the Cotswolds, Oxford and London to name just a few.

The Black Dog paid me a visit. With the help of my amazing family and friends, psychological therapy and medication, I managed to get rid of him fairly quickly.

I turned 25 years old.

I fell even more in love with Mr Maggie May than ever before, which was convenient really, as we also became engaged to be married!

Farewell 2017... Engagement Ring

2017 has been an amazing year, but the next one is going to be even better!

Happy New Year - and thank you for continuing to read The Secret Life of Maggie May. Stick with me in 2018, as there are lots of exciting things to come...

Farewell 2017... Engaged

The images in this post were taken by the wonderful Clayton Jane.


15 December 2017

The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie, Cheltenham

The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie, Cheltenham

One of my favourite things about the Christmas season is the opportunity to get dressed up for festive evenings out with friends and family.

So when we were invited to the launch party of The Ivy Montpellier Brasserie in Cheltenham, our answer was, of course, yes!

The Grade I listed Rotunda building in the town is a beautiful landmark, and one we have longed to step inside ever since we moved to the Cotswolds. Now, it's home to the latest addition to The Ivy collection.


8 December 2017

Maggie's Christmas Gift Guide 2017

Maggie May's Christmas Gift Guide 2017

It's Chriiiiiiiiisssssstmmaaaaaaassss!

Which means it's time to get shopping, if you haven't already.

We're not doing too badly this year - I think I've got Mr Maggie May sorted, and some of the gifts for our nieces and nephews. We've still got our grandparents, godchildren, parents, aunts and uncles to buy for though...

If like me you've still got some present choosing to do, then fear not - my Christmas Gift Guide is here to help you! With a range of gifts for the most important people in your life, I reckon you'll be all done by the end of the week, leaving you with more time to put your feet up and gorge on mince pies.

28 November 2017

Winter Traditions

Winter Traditions with Maggie May

Winter's coming!

I genuinely cannot believe that this Friday marks the start of December. Can you believe it? This year really has flown by.

I have to admit; I much prefer the colder autumn and winter months to the summer {I know, it's slightly bizarre} But there are so many things I love about this time of year and the changing of the seasons!

One of the best bits has to be the accompanying wardrobes, and the chance to pile on thick coats and woolly jumpers.

25 November 2017

Wedding Planning with Biscuiteers!

Wedding Planning with Maggie May and Biscuiteers

Anyone who has planned a wedding will agree that it can be a stressful, albeit wonderful, time.

Many hours are spent poring over potential flowers and hymns, deciding which guests get which bedrooms at the reception venue, and trying to find a space in the diary to squeeze in a canapé tasting session.

Imagine then just how excited we were to hear that the lovely folk at Biscuiteers were sending us one of their engagement tins to help us get through the planning!

{Clue - very excited.}

10 November 2017

The City of Dreaming Spires

Oxford, United Kingdom

"And that sweet City with her dreaming spires..."

Yet another great thing about living in the Cotswolds is our proximity to the beautiful city of Oxford.

I have very fond memories of Oxford, and my visits have varied widely - from singing in Christ Church Cathedral as a schoolgirl, and spending very fun {very drunken} weekends with my friend in her college; to walking around hand-in-hand with Mr MM as we take in the sights, meeting up with friends of ours who have decided to call this marvellous place home.

28 October 2017

Windfall Apple Crumble

Windfall Apple Crumble

Having your own apple tree means crumble is a regular feature at the dinner table.

And who's complaining?

This year, I wanted to improve upon my apple, damson and blackberry crumble recipe, and to create a warming, delicious crumble that would beat the rest. With a few adjustments here and there, I think we're now onto a winner. This tastes so good with lashings of warm, vanilla custard - but a dollop of clotted cream wouldn't go amiss either...

13 October 2017

The Weekend Edit 13/10 - Autumn Jumpers

Pale blue peplum sleeve | Chunky yellow knit | Plum with embellishment | Breton stripe | Blue Fairisle | Cream cable knit {You won't believe the price!} | Red cable knit | Roll neck swing jumper | Blue roll neck | Pink balloon sleeve | Green cocoon sleeve | Red Dachshund | Polka dot {In the sale} | Stripe with embellishment {Also in the sale} | Boat neck | Oversized funnel neck | Boxy cropped | Metallic roll neck {Now less than half price}
I think we can all agree that one of the best things about autumn is the knitwear.

My wardrobe creaks under the weight of my cable knit jumpers and dresses - with a plethora of cardigans for good measure, too - and I love being able to layer up and wrap up warm once the weather gets cooler.

The uber-observant ones amongst you may have already spotted that lots of the items in The Weekend Edit today are in the sale - so now really is the time to throw out the threadbare, holey sweaters and treat yourself to some lovely new ones.

9 October 2017

Cotswold Wanderings

I love living in the Cotswolds.

Even though we've been here for over a year now, there is still so much to explore. From the picturesque, chocolate-box villages like Bourton-on-the-Water to the beautiful towns such as Cheltenham, there is an incredible amount of wonderful places to visit.

We recently went for a walk through the secluded valleys surrounding the village of Bisley.

Cotswold Wanderings - Bisley

Cotswold Wanderings - Bisley

As I've said before, Mr MM and I love going for walks in the countryside, and this was a particularly lovely one.

2 October 2017

Turning 25

Turning 25

I turn 25 this month!

As I wave goodbye to being 24, I am again reminded of the fact that I really am growing up.

I'm engaged to be married and saving up for a mortgage deposit for our first house - I'm also a fully paid-up National Trust member with an Emma Bridgewater addiction. I'll be honest, I've always been old before my time...


22 September 2017

The Weekend Edit 22/09 - Colour Pop

As September ticks by, it seems we must wave goodbye to hopes of any more warm weather in the UK this year...

I can't say I'm too disappointed by this, what with being an autumn baby who loves nothing more than cooing at the changing leaves and wrapping scarves around me excitedly. But I DO think that before we make a dash for the pumpkin spice lattes, now is the time to inject one last pop of colour into our wardrobes, before we turn towards the slightly more mellow, relaxed, chocolatey tones of October.

18 September 2017

Tower of London

Tower of London

This weekend, we decided to play at being tourists!

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge


15 September 2017

The Weekend Edit 15/09 - Bakers Gonna Bake

I can't help it, I've got Bake Off fever!

If you haven't been watching brand new The Great British Bake Off for the last few weeks - where have you been? I must admit, while I was a big sceptic at first, I am well and truly engrossed in this series {even though Mary Berry's absence is still a bitter pill to swallow...}

I'm not writing episode reviews this year like I did back in 2015, but I have put together The Weekend Edit this week with all you baking enthusiasts in mind.


11 September 2017

The Wedding Diaries - Decisions Decisions

Kate Spade Mrs Necklace

There's just over one year to go until our wedding!

Now, some people respond when we say this with, 'Oh, so it's not for ages then.' {I fall into this camp} 

Others, however, helpfully reply: 'Gosh, that's not long at all is it? That will fly by! Not much time to save up and arrange everything!'


Luckily, we have both thrown ourselves into wedding planning and getting things sorted. I'm not sure how we've been quite so efficient - we've certainly been told numerous times that we are a very organised engaged couple! I think it's partly because we wanted a fairly short engagement, partly because we agreed on what sort of wedding we would like pretty early on - and partly because we're just so excited about getting married and having a brilliant day!


8 September 2017

The Weekend Edit 08/09 - Back to School

It's back to school month!

I know I'm too old to actually be at school, but whenever it comes to September, I still get that frisson of excitement. A new year, a new start - and an excuse to buy even more stationery...

The Weekend Edit this week has a mixture of lovely things, from stylish dresses to swanky accessories. One of my favourites is this cute cat collar shirt:

4 September 2017

Bye Bye Black Dog

Bye Bye Black Dog

Back in May, I wrote a post about my low mood

I notice now that I didn't put a specific name to what was going on {Hermione's voice is playing in my head - "Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself." Any fellow Harry Potter geeks reading this? No?} So here it is - I was suffering from depression

It doesn't feel particularly liberating to write that - I'm more embarrassed and ashamed than anything else. But why? Every year, 1 in 4 of us experiences a mental health problem. Yet even now, in 2017, there is still a stigma attached to mental health. We tell ourselves that there isn't anymore, but there really, really is. 

What I didn't realise at the time was that I was also suffering from moderate anxiety. I'm going to be 100% truthful with you all - because that's what this post is about - and I understand that my comments might offend. But I had always thought of anxiety as being something typically self-diagnosed by young women, mistaking their everyday worries and concerns for a serious mental health problem. I guess I viewed anxiety in a similar way to how I used to view chronic fatigue syndrome.

1 September 2017

The Weekend Edit 01/09 - Celestial Beings

It's September! Can you believe it?

It's a busy month ahead, what with the kids going back to school and the start of autumn, so I have chosen a lovely theme for The Weekend Edit this week...

Think star prints, swirl patterns, metallics and moons - all things celestial.


30 August 2017

Wedding Shoedown

Wedding Shoedown

One of the most exciting bits of wedding planning has to be choosing the outfits.

Since we got engaged, I've been browsing blogs and magazines for inspiration with hair, beauty, jewellery, dresses - and shoes!

I've gathered together some of my favourite styles which I've found so far - but my lips have to remain sealed as to what I'm going to choose... Teehee!


25 August 2017

The Weekend Edit 25/08 - For Wedding Guests

I really and truly love everything in this week's Weekend Edit! What with all our talk of weddings, plus the fact we're in prime wedding season, I thought I'd pick some pieces from the high street which would be perfect for completing your wedding guest look.

Aren't these satin court shoes absolutely beautiful?


An offering from the gods of floral print, Ted Baker, of course. They're a piece of art which are guaranteed to transform any outfit.


21 August 2017

My Godmother

Maggie May - My Godmother

This weekend, Mr Maggie May and I paid a visit to my godmother. We guiltily realised it had actually been a couple of years since we'd seen her, so hastily arranged to call in for a cup of tea and catch up.

I was so glad we did.

My godmother is now 89 years old. She was born in Austria in 1928, and grew up in beautiful Tirol. She was 10 years old when the Nazis invaded her country, and as a result of this, saw things which no child should ever see.

As we sat down with steaming mugs of coffee and big slices of chocolate cake, she began to speak of her childhood - some of her anecdotes I had heard before, and others were new, but it struck me that these amazing stories may currently exist only in their verbal form. Once we have lost this incredible generation from our lives, who will tell us about the horrors which took place? Who will remind us of our history - history which our own relatives, our own flesh and blood, were part of?

That's why I decided to write some of her stories down.

18 August 2017

The Weekend Edit 18/08 - Summer Steals

Two blog posts for you this week - and a special summer-themed The Weekend Edit! Even though it hasn't been feeling too summery with the British weather recently, I've been casting my eye over what new additions could be making their way into our suitcases - from the beautiful Aspiga jute beach bag, to the fabulous Marseille swimsuit from swimwear goddesses Boden... {Available in both blue/white and pink/green, and now in the sale!}

Marseille Swimsuit

One of my favourite products has got to be the Nivea Tinted Moisturising Day Cream; with SPF 15, it's perfect for keeping skin plump and hydrated, whilst adding a bit of coverage and sun protection too. 

Don't forget, a lot of high street stores have kicked off their summer sales now - so be on the lookout! You can also stay up to date with my Instagram feed, where I'm sharing some of my favourite seasonal buys.

Happy weekend!


15 August 2017

How To Save Some Pennies

How To Save Some Pennies

I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay.

Ain't it sad.

{Sincerely hoping I'm not the only ABBA fan around here...}

Even if we try to pretend otherwise, money money money is often at the forefront of our minds. Whether we're rich or poor, working full-time or part-time, have dozens of mouths to feed or just our own, it can be a problem for all of us.

The unfortunate truth is there will always be stuff to pay for - sometimes it's necessary, like your rent or mortgage; sometimes it's lovely, like a fancy dress or new haircut; and sometimes it's downright rubbish - parking tickets definitely belong in this category. Eurgh.

Whilst I was a student for a good many years, I built up a reputation amongst my family as being fairly frugal {or miserly, as Mama Maggie May lovingly put it} and although these days I don't have to be as careful with my spending, I have proudly retained some of my money-saving skills. So for those of you wishing to be more economical with your bank balance, here are some of my tips for how to save the hard-earned pennies.


10 August 2017

The Wedding Diaries - The Start of Planning

Credit: Jose Villa

We've started wedding planning!

We have well and truly thrown ourselves into it, and are incredibly excited - although we'd both agree that I am perhaps a little too excited...

Although I don't want to give away very much {I'm hoping there will be lots of surprises left for the guests on the day!} I thought I'd share with you a few of our thoughts so far.

As some of you will know, I have been Pinning away to my heart's content since we got engaged, and all of the images in this post are from my English Wedding board. You can find snaps from lots of wonderful blogs, wedding websites and photographers on there, so please do take a look if you're in need of some inspiration!

So, where to start...

20 July 2017

We're Engaged!


The last few weeks have been... A whirlwind!

The end of June saw us escape for a week to our second home; the beautiful Greek island of Corfu. After a busy and stressful few months, with Mr Maggie May tackling a new job, and me battling the Black Dog, we definitely deserved a few days of rest and relaxation.

23 June 2017

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake

In my recent bid to master some more of the baking classics, I realised it was time to give one of my absolute favourites a go: lemon drizzle cake.

Beautifully simple, it is the ultimate accompaniment to your mid-afternoon cup of coffee - and always a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. How then, was I going to bake a lemon drizzle which lived up to all of these expectations?


9 June 2017

The Weekend Edit 09/06 - Timeless Classics

There is so much I am coveting on the high street right now - picking just a few items for The Weekend Edit this week was quite the challenge! But I've chosen pieces which I think would be great investments for all wardrobes, such as the timeless, classic leopard print pumps from M&S.

I think that you can never have too many Breton tops {I'm pretty sure Kate Middleton agrees with me on that one} and I love Crew's fun, slogan version - perfect for teaming with white jeans, or denim shorts as the weather hots up {admittedly hard to imagine right now with the rain pelting against the windows...}

Plain Sailing Breton
Leopard Print Pumps
For the last few weeks I've been dithering over pale pink jeans. Having seen some lovely skinny pairs in a couple of independent shops, I've umm-ed and ahh-ed over whether they'd fit into my wardrobe -  turns out the latest offering from Oasis are doing a very good job of convincing me...

Go on - treat yourself to something lovely this weekend. I promise I won't tell!


7 June 2017

Museums & Milkshakes

iamsterdam letters - Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Museums. They're one of the main features of any city break, right?

Unsurprisingly, Amsterdam is chock-a-block full of them, and having already paid a visit to Anne Frank House during our first day in the city, we were ready to check out the competition on the Saturday.


31 May 2017

Arriving in Amsterdam

Maggie May in Amsterdam

I have always wanted to go to Amsterdam.

Ever since I was a little girl, and saw pictures of the colourful canal houses lined up higgledy-piggledy at the water's edge. 

Luckily for me, Mr MM was desperate to visit too, which meant choosing his birthday present this year was easy!

Amsterdam Canal Houses


24 May 2017

Green Fingers

Springer spaniel in the garden

I've inadvertently turned into my parents. 

It happens to us all eventually, I suppose? 

I first realised that I was becoming more and more like Mama and Papa Maggie May when I got excited about my clematis. 

You see, over the last few weeks, I have started to really enjoy gardening.

I'm slightly shocked, bemused, and concerned that I am ageing far too rapidly; acting in a very non-typical fashion for a twenty-something year old. 

But I know I'm not the only one who has a not-so-secret passion for all things horticultural. 

18 May 2017

May Days

Canopy of green leaves

It's been over a month since I last posted on The Secret Life of Maggie May. 

A lot has happened since then - Easter, and an amazing trip to Amsterdam, but also Mr Maggie May and I were struck down by a horrible bug that wiped us out for a good week each.

What else? Well, in all honesty, I've been feeling pretty miserable.

In the past I have written some fairly frank truths on The Secret Life of Maggie May: namely my denial over my diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, and my struggle with subsequent flare ups. Although sharing these stories can make me feel a little embarrassed {ashamed, even} I find that filling my online pages with these words can be very cathartic - and so I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to do it again.

11 April 2017

Easter Rocky Road

Easter Rocky Road - Maggie May

Easter is nearly upon us!

And that means not only is it time for eating eggs constantly, spending quality time with our family, and other traditional pursuits, but also for lots of baking ahead of the bank holiday weekend...

I therefore decided to whip up a brand new recipe in honour of the spring season - but I must warn you:

It's wickedly indulgent.

Literally chock-a-block full of more sweet and sugary delights than you can shake a daffodil at, my creation is none other than Easter Rocky Road. 


7 April 2017

Brunch at London Bridge

In my humble opinion, brunch is the greatest.

A tantalising combination of sweet and savoury, once you sit down to enjoy a brunch, you're not in a rush to go anywhere. One seems to get away with eating quite vast quantities of food too - because hey, it's brunch!

Choosing where to go for brunch in London can be tricky - we're spoilt for choice with breakfast hotspots and Instagram-worthy haunts, unsure of whose avo-on-toast is really the best. However, I did have a pretty good feeling about the star of today's blog post. 

Brunch at London Grind - London Bridge, Near Borough Market

Brunch at London Grind - London Bridge, Near Borough Market

Brunch at London Grind - London Bridge, Near Borough Market

3 April 2017

Coffee & Walnut Cake

Easy Coffee & Walnut Cake Recipe

Coffee and walnut cake is Mr Maggie May's favourite.

It's got to have a good, strong coffee flavour, a deliciously light and fluffy sponge, be packed full of walnuts, and it can't be too sickly sweet. With such a strict list of requirements, it's hardly surprising that I had avoided baking this classic in the seven years we have been together...

Finally, with bated breath, I decided to give it a go.

27 March 2017

Afternoon Tea in Cheltenham

Afternoon Tea at Queens Hotel, Cheltenham

Earlier this month, the calm of the Cotswolds was disturbed momentarily. Why?

For the Cheltenham Festival, of course!

One of the biggest events in horse racing, every March ladies and gents flock from the world over to glorious Gloucestershire, ready to place a bet on their favourite runners, dress up in their finery, and enjoy a tipple or two. Anyone who's anyone is sure to be seen at the course - including the Duchess of Cambridge on several occasions - so you could say that it's quite an important event on the social calendar.

Mum and I had a much better idea, though.
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