Saturday, 24 August 2013

In Love with Love

"Bianca: There's a difference between like and love. Because, I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack.
Chastity: But I love my Skechers.
Bianca: That's because you don't have a Prada backpack!"

...10 Things I Hate About You

Love is a word I use a lot. Not because I can’t distinguish between like and love. I just love to love. I love to fall in love. It's something I do very often, and on many different platforms. 

There is, of course, my ultimate Love, Husband, and I am a lucky girl because he's one of those men you can fall in love with over and over again. 

Then there's the obvious shoe Love I have - this one is easily quenched with a bit of scouting, shopping or even just gathering pictures off the internet of beautiful creations that I couldn’t actually wear (or buy). 

Some of my Loves need no explanation. Some of my Loves should never be explained. (Don’t even attempt to understand them because even I don’t get this song)

But then some Loves come into my world in a whirlwind of romance! Complete with wining, dining, butterflies, bubbles and all things intoxicating! I Love Jennifer Lawrence – serious girl crush. I'm crazy in Love with my giant cat and his purr-filled snoring! I Love CrossFit. I Love watching Husband cast out a fly line with expert ease, uncurling it onto the water with delicate precision. Or even better, when I make the perfect cast myself! (or as close as I am going to get at this point, that is) A new Love came to me in the form of a pink ‘Sage’ fly fishing rod he bought me, and I know this one is going to stand the test of time because I just keep thinking about it. I have even been mulling over the name Sage in my brain so much so that it has become the first name of one of the characters in my latest manuscript in progress.

Another Love arrived as a book. It was Love at First Read, and I wrote a blog post dedicated to the fiery fling we had, even though the reading was over too quickly. Isn’t that just the way it goes? The thing with books, however, is that they are never jealous when you find the next one, the new one, the one that keeps your bed warm as you lie in it reading on your kindle. (I Love my kindle!) And so, in the very happy after glow A Girls Guide To Fairy Tales left me, I found another Love of a book. This one involves vintage teacups! I'm hooked :)

And this week, my newest Love was a moment, sitting in a coffee shop with a dear friend. I fell, not only for the honey and cinnamon banana French toast, but while we were talking about loves (a pink scarf, an unpublished book, an upcoming wedding) I spotted a ceramic bowl amongst the shop decor that was filled with little matching ceramic ducklings, and fell instantly head over heels in love with that moment, right there and then.

The Loves that I love the most are the ones that are worth it. Don’t you just love that kind of Love?

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

BOOK NOOK: A Girls Guide To Fairy Tales

A Girls Guide to Fairy Tales

 What a pleasure to be able to kick off the newest feature on my blog, Book Nook, with this wonderful little gem! And it is even MORE of a pleasure, and an honour, that I get to interview the author herself right here on Cherry Blossom Boutique!

I found AGGTFT via a twitter/facebook page dedicated to chicklit. Having been burned before when purchasing books based on on-line recommendations, I swore I would never do it again. But when I saw this sparkling temptation (at a great price), I thought, oh why not.

What a great find! Not only is A Girls Guide To Fairy Tales fun and charming, but it is so enjoyably constructed I couldn’t put it down! (even though I was meant to be practicing for a piano exam…)

The book is about 4 girl friends, the English variety (not Manhattanites), who are each going though their own daily issues – love, work, self esteem, wardrobe dilemma’s, kick-starting a career as a Broadway star…you know, the usual. I loved that even though Laurey captured each of the different women’s unique personalities, I could find something in all of them to relate to. OK, maybe not taking the stage – naked – for a very important role in a very important play…but I definitely felt akin to every one of the women in the story at some point or another in their own personal journeys.

I loved that each chapter is written from a different viewpoint, of one of the friends, and that each chapter ends with you wanting to know what happens next! The beauty of the flow of this book, is that you then have to read 3 more chapters to get to the next part of ‘insert-protagonista’s-name-here’s story. Oh, Laurey, you crafty scribbler you ;)

When the girls get together, it’s as though I am there. I have BEEN there, only the group of girls is my own little cluster here in South Africa. How rare that a fun and heartwarming book captures elements of reality in a way that transcends continents!

I found myself laughing out loud at both Issie’s and Clare’s blind dates, having been in similar situations myself, ranging from the socially awkward to a particularly cave-manish face-palm specimen who had a very special way of charming the ladies. I felt deeply for poor Sophie who felt immediately less than worthy when she found out about her boyfriends newest employee, the drop dead gorgeous and can’t-blame-her friendly potential other woman; All the while, Sophie’s teenage language filled with OMG’s and WTF’s endeared her to me even more, and the scene where she hides eating a chocolate from her boyfriend is SO me - I couldn’t stop laughing! Maddie’s desire to open her own cake shop is one I would never have the guts to do myself, but one I would always encourage. Go Maddie! And of course, any book that has a ‘glittery shoe’ incident is right up my alley – fairy tale style!

Without further ado, I would like to introduce the lovely lady who made this gorgeous novel happen - Laurey Buckland. Take it away, Laurey!


Thank you so much Pami (aka Cherry Blossom) for hosting me on what I can only describe as a powerful-punch-of-pink blog which I love.  What I don’t want to do is bog your dear readers down with reams of rambling statements of what ‘inspired me’ or ‘why I decided to write the novel’. That will bore them senseless. What I will simply say is that I thoroughly enjoy being creative and was inspired by my own life and those of my girlfriends.

However, what I feel I should explain (briefly) is why I chose a fairy tale theme…..
I felt that the stories from our childhood related to those lives we live and the problems in them. How many of us are always looking for faults in ourselves before someone else can point them out? How many of us pretend to be something we’re not and adopt a false persona just to get by from day-to-day? How many of us would rather believe the worst than hope for the best? And how many of us believe our worlds are topsy turvy and should be something more? If you’re not one of these women, I envy you. A lot of us are shaped by society to want the mythical perfect man and to want to be perfect ourselves. Believe it or not, our fairy tale heroes and heroines have all been there before us: The Ugly Duckling; Pinocchio; Snow White; Alice...

There’s no need to go into too much detail about each of my character’s problems right now. For $1.16/£0.76 I’m hoping you will not feel it an expensive burden to discover them for yourself. However, I do hope you will relate to one of their experiences. I wanted them to be the Every Women of chicklit. I want their stories to resonate somewhere in each of your perfectly formed, feminine physiques. And if you’re wondering about happily-ever-afters, let’s just say I’m a huge romantic.

Pami has set a few questions for me to answer, so here goes:

Tea or Coffee?
Despite being British, it's coffee all the way for me. I would never wake up otherwise, although I've heard that half an apple is just as likely to help wake you up in the mornings. Think I'll stick with my cuppas though.

Sparkly heels or ballet flats?
Depends on the occasion. However, if we're talking about what I feel super special and sexy in, then it's sparkly heels every time. In fact, the sparkly heels I mention in A Girl's Guide to Fairy Tales were based on ones I'd bought the day I wrote the chapter they feature in. Oh, I felt like Dorothy herself wearing those beauties but instead of "there's no place like home", it was a case of "there's no place like a dance floor".

Diamonds or pearls?
Diamonds. Diamonds. Diamonds. After all, they are a girl's best friend.

Red or White? (wine of course)
Neither actually. I'm a rosé girl! And if there are bubbles on offer I'll take them, even though they do strange things to my brain. 

Audrey or Marilyn?
Hardest question of the lot! But after careful deliberation I've decided it has to be Audrilyn!!

If money wasn't an issue, where in the world would you live and why?
Wherever my family was....but seeing as money isn't an issue in this scenario, I'm guessing they could come with me. Therefore, I think I'd go back to Italy. I lived there when I was very young and have extremely fond memories of my life there. It is rich with history, which I would appreciate now I'm older (and wiser I hasten to add) and finally, with it being the most romantic country in the world (stereotypically or not) it would be the perfect setting for another chicklit venture.

What is your favorite book of all time? (or top 3 if you cant choose) (or, if you are like me, top 5)
I very rarely read a book more than once but if the story has gripped me, then I don't need to; it's embedded in the brain. I'm a hopeless romantic but love a bit of fantasy fiction too. Therefore, my top 3 are:
1)Jane Austen's Persuasion. I love P&P too, but the love between Anne Elliot and Wentworth is (dare I say it) more romantic than Darcy and Elizabeth. Controversial! 
2)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This is where Rowling's world starts to turn truly dark and interesting. What an imagination that woman has.
3) Roget's Thesaurus - gotta love a book that can turn dark into tenebrous and light into resplendent.

Who should make the first move? Man or woman?
Another cracking conundrum here. But I'm going to go with *insert drum roll here*....the man. I believe men bounce back from rejection better than women and let's face it, when would a guy refuse anything with breasts and a pulse?

For those of you who do want to learn a little bit more about me (you just might) then you can visit my blog
However, my answers to Pami’s questions should have told you everything you need to know.
And finally, for those of you who are still reading this far, here’s my novel’s synopsis in a bit more detail.

For daydreamer Maddie, obsessive compulsive Clare, over dramatic Isobel and happy-go-lucky Sophie, life is more a world of tragic than magic.

For Maddie it’s a constant battle against the monotony of a job she hates while her heart aches to follow her dreams of setting up her own cake-making business and turn her talent into a career. But will she escape to the world where she feels she truly belongs?

Clare's inability to banish the image of the ugly duckling she remembers hampers her ability to believe she is good for anyone or anything. After being coerced by well-meaning friends to sign up to an online dating site, she soon starts to realize that looks aren’t perhaps everything and that she is just as quick to judge a book by its cover.

Isobel has the looks, the figure and the confidence – or so it appears. After landing the lead role in a new play written and directed by the beastly Guy Edmundson, she follows her mother’s advice to find a gorgeous hunk in time to escort her to the after-show party. But it’s only when she cuts herself free from the ties of a fake persona and stops living up to other people’s expectations that the unexpected happens.

Sophie has the perfect job and the devoted boyfriend who worships the ground she walks on. But when she chooses to doubt her own worth and believes in a poisonous rumour, it tears her fairy tale world apart. Can she find the magic to piece it back together?


It is also available on iTunes.

Feel free to get in touch and tweet me @LaureyBuckland


How gorgeous is Laurey's cat!? And the sparkly shoe that inspired some of the fairy tale...I love that it exists in real life :)

That's it from me for now. I hope you are inspired to buy and read the book - and let me know what you think! 

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom 

Monday, 19 August 2013

Family is the Variety of Life

I am one of those blessed individuals who comes from a big family. Scratch that - an enormous family. People who visited our home when I was growing up were known to have said: "You haven't lived till you've had dinner at the Shortridges..." This statement was usually followed with much maniacal laughter, or shuddering, or something or the other that conveyed that something OUT OF THE ORDINARY was just experienced.

I like that about my family.

And even though there has been many a boyfriend who has run after meeting le familie - they were not made of the stuff that would keep me interested for very long anyhow. (Husband, on the other hand is a brave, brave and complex man.)

Being from a big (sorry, enormous) family comes with certain credentials. You grow up learning to share. You grow up learning to be selfish. You grow up learning to fight. You grow up being different and still the same. You grow up defending and protecting your brothers and sisters, while still cutting your own path, viciously, precisely, determinedly and deliberately. You grow up learning to align yourself to the group for the greater good, adding your own expertise to the unspoken 'Kid Code' and thus join forces with us (siblings) versus them (parents). In short, or in 'Shortridge', you grow up learning to be your own person, to stand on your own two feet, and to do it with the love and support of those closest to you in blood, who all the while couldn't be further away in every other aspect. You learn to love and appreciate variety.

There are 6 of us, 8 if you include Mom and Dad. 14 if you include spouses. 25 if you include offspring. And more if you include aunts, uncles and cousins!. Christmas is a noisy, busy and EXPENSIVE affair.

The thing I love most about my family is how different we all are, breaking every mold of 'you are that way because of the parents'. If we were a school yard, we would have the jocks, the cheerleaders, the nerds, the goths, the hipsters, the cool kids, the outcasts, and even the crazy christericals. We are a world in and of ourselves. I can not speak for the rest of the 24  immediates, but I love this melting-pot-spicy-variety-of-life existence that is dinner at the Shortridges.

I think it is why I love people so much. ALL people. When I meet someone new, (Voodoo doll collector; Tea junkie; Ex-door to door salesman; Serial marathoner; Unlikely billionaire; Man-hating door-lady; Poetry-master-come-electrician...) I just want to know them and enjoy them. I LOVE the variety!

Have you heard the joke that goes Mom, Dad, Averil, Paul, Grant, Brian, Laura, Tim, Shannon, Anna, Cat, Bruce, Brandon, Julie, Amber, Adam, Mary, Joshua, Rachel, Alex, Noa, Tannith, David, Morgaine and myself walk into a bar? No? You haven't?

Well, then you are officially invited to the next family dinner.

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

But...does it come in Pink?

The answer, ladies, is yes, yes it does.

I am a girly girl. I am not ashamed of this. In fact, I tend to revel in it at any given opportunity. High heels, pearls, lipstick and Chanel, I embrace my inner (and outer) femininity with full-fluff fervor! This is why it came as a surprise to everyone around me that I like to fly fish. Trust me, none was more surprised than I! Who would ‘a thought that I could trade in my Choo's for gum boots, hand over my glittery clutch purse for a trout-skin fly box, hang up my Italian designer jeans for quick-dry waders and an Akubra hat??? Not I! I was the last person in the world who would touch a slimy fish, let alone end up loving the creatures as though they were my pets!

But thankfully, my willingness to try almost anything once (FOMO perhaps?) and my eagerness to join Husband in his favourite pastime, outweighed my need for a fragranced, mud-free existence. I did what Husband asked, took the fly rod, and POOF became an avid fly fishing woman! But in pink Hunter boots, of course.

Never one to leave a gesture un-rewarded, Husband did me proud last week. He found and bought me the most exquisite pink fly fishing rod I could have imagined! It is a SAGE (that's like the Louis Vuitton of fishing rods, for those who don't know) and is pearly pink with diamondy silver etchings. Each line on the rod sparkles like the ring on my finger.

This rod is called the 'Grace' and was introduced by Sage as an initiative to raise funds to support a charity for women with breast cancer. In the words of 'SAGE' themselves: 


The GRACE rod is the next generation pink rod offering from Sage and is available exclusively in an 8’6", 5 weight model which features all new cosmetics. A portion of the sale of each GRACE rod will go to Casting for Recovery; a non-profit organization dedicated to giving women powerful tools to overcome the challenges of breast cancer.

So not only is it beautiful and pink, but its purchase has helped someone out there. I love that my rod has purpose, far beyond me catching a few fish. AND she looks good, lets be honest ;)

 Husband did good :) Cherry Blossom happy!

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Monday, 5 August 2013

A Very Good Vintage: My take on Books and Wine

 As a resident of Cape Town, I have the frequent privilege of visiting the winelands, tasting and appreciating some of South Africa's best wines on offer. After quite a few years of this tongue-bud development, I have come to one simple conclusion: The very best wine is the one that you like. Similarly, the very best books are the ones that you enjoy.

Yes, that is a rather one dimensional statement. Of course there are ingredients and processes that distinguish a quality wine from something cheap and nasty that will give you a spine-curdling headache in 2.3 sips...and there are books that are not 'good for you'. Annoying repetitive text aside, reading excessive amounts of poorly constructed sentences and multiple uses of grotesque slang speech can affect a person long after the book is done. A novel hangover perhaps?

Just look at our generation. Thanx to twitter, Facebook and MTV, some of us are gr8ing, hashtagging, 2 as apposed to to or too'ing (destroying the ability to use the correct one even more) and shrtng words left right and centre! To the point of not being able to send an email without taking the time and effort, it would seem, to write out the full word 'you'. WTF peeps? I mean, rlly!

But I digress. My point here is that when it comes down to tastes, genre's, preferences and where you put your money and your mouth - the best book, or wine, is the one that you like, the one that makes you happy.

I love chick lit. I get a lot of criticism for this, and am looked down upon by the snootier of literary minds, merely because I enjoy a light hearted, up beat book that will end with me feeling a bit happier about life. I don't only read chick lit - sometimes I'm in the mood for mystery, suspense, sometimes I have a glass of Merlot, other times a juicy Shiraz. Sometimes its 'White Oleander' by Janet Fitch, Sometimes 'The Bell Jar' by Sylvia Plath, or 'Far From the Madding Crowd' by Thomas Hardy. Sometimes it's Chardonnay Pinot Noir by Haute Cabriere. But chick lit is definitely my go-to genre, my pink champagne, if you will (Krone, the delicious french-style bubbly, of course).

But whether it be JK Rowling or Sophie Kinsella keeping me entertained, I maintain that the very best books for me are the ones that I like.

That is all.

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom

Friday, 2 August 2013


In a world that gave us Bennifer, Brangelina and Bromance, I feel practically entitled to this new emerging concept: Wo-mance is my new ‘It’ thing.

Being a younger sister who grew up with three big brothers, I have had my fair share of men in my life. The torturous tot years where we hated each other, pummeled on each other and spent our time avoiding each other. Then the gawky years where I idealized them and lived in awe that they allowed me within 10 feet of them, and, more specifically, of their friends. The fun filled 20’s where they were my buddies, my partners in crime (or minor misdemeanors at any rate) and my party peeps… And now the adult years where they are my nearest and dearest – I absolutely love brother world, and therefore by default, boy world. I have always been able to relate to boys, fall in step with them, find my place around them and own it.
Now, at 33, married and mother of two cats and a very pretty stone (see it here), I find myself in a new space. A space that emphasizes the importance of the women in my life, and the growing romance I seem to have with finding new ones.

In the past I have been guilty of feeling that girls were a nuisance and that boys were just so much better, easier to get along with. Of course, I was blissfully unaware of that whole non-platonic thing and so never once thought that a guy was just being nice to me to get into my pants…(poor proverbial guy, never succeeded! Hah!)

But I was so wrong. Women are MUCH better friends than men! It’s just a matter of finding the right girl friend, Mrs. Right, if you will. Just watch any episode of Sex and The City, or a modern equivalent, and you will see it. A girl needs a girl in her life. For so many reasons. For example, things happen to our bodies along the way (much more than guys) from about age 12 to death…it’s a scary process and can be extremely embarrassing/worrying/daunting when you don’t have someone else going through the same thing to talk to. Girls understand things like mascara and choosing the right brand of cotton buds. Girls know about parabens. Girls know what you mean when you face the wardrobe and declare war on yourself. Girls can talk about the inner workings of baby making long after men have served their purpose and are no longer interested, or, lets face it, useful.

And girls get SHOES!

A girl needs, at the very least, that one confidant, the closest, bested friend in the world, who she can spill all her beans to and still be loved. Yes, Husband is my best friend, but there are times when I need to talk about Husband to someone other than Husband…Enter best female friend! Enter Wo-mance.

I say this is a new thing, which isn’t completely true. I have not been a stranger to a bit of lady love in my time. I have always listened to mostly female fronted music, look up to a variety of strong women as role models, mostly read books that have female protagonists, idealize beauty icons and enjoy a private fantasy that involves me as the mother of dragons…

I have a core bff who has been with me from the start (The Big Red Hen), a wonderful little sister who brings me all kinds of delight (Kitten of Discord), a 'wife' as it were (my current co-conspirator in work and coffee on a daily basis) and some fabulous crazy beautiful friends who I picked up along the way who have stood the test of time. But lately, I have found that I am collecting new friends of the fairer sex. More and more!

All these women I am wo-mancing! It almost feels like I am dating again, going through the whole ‘will he call me?’ ‘Does he like me too’, ‘Should I invite him?’…only replace that pronoun with ‘she’ and ‘her’. I have found myself investing time and energy in these lovely ladies, carefully orchestrating invitations or accepting offers just so that I can get to know them better. ‘Tis Wo-mance. An exciting space. Very rewarding. With lots of pretty people to have cocktails with.

And lets face it, you can’t go over to your best guy friends house to borrow a gorgeous dress. Ever. Girls rock!

Love, lust and fairy-star-dust
Cherry Blossom