Last year we had family pictures taken by London photographer Amy Gant. I was thrilled with the photos and love Amy's style of photography. She captures it all - the happy family grinning at the camera and the precious, fleeting moments that will be treasured for years. And she does it all using light and colour in such pretty, natural ways.
Amy took photos of our family in two locations - a set of us at the park among all the pretty fall leaves (perfect for Christmas cards) and then some very natural (almost photojournalism-like) photos within the walls of our home. I love both sets.
Check out Amy's work and make sure to click the tab "recent" - some of my very favourites on her site are under that tab. For a photoshoot, contact Amy here.
When I saw that my favorite London bakery released a cookbook, I Amazon-Primed it to my home immediately! It is such a pretty cookbook, full of delicious and drool-worthy recipes.
I tried my hand at croissants this weekend. I'd never attempted making these before, but I'm always up for a culinary challenge. I followed the Gail's recipe exactly... and tada! The result was better than I could imagine. Warm, flaky, buttery, perfect, jumbo croissants. Thank you for the fool-proof recipe, Gail's!
Next, I think I'll try their cheesecake. Then I should probably visit the salads section... (cookbook here)
I'm going to skip the paragraph where I lament the drudgery of shopping and cooking nightly dinners and get straight to the point—
Hello Fresh is an awesome service that delivers delicious recipes and exact ingredients to your door every week.
I recently trialled Hello Fresh after receiving a voucher from Amazon. I ordered a box for three meals and looked forward with anticipation. Would the recipes really be delicious? Would the fresh food be edible by the time it arrived? It was an exciting package to receive!
Well, Hello Fresh didn't disappoint. My box arrived with all the food, perfectly portioned and exactly measured to make prep and cooking a breeze. The recipes were easy to follow, the food was delicious and we were eating dinners that were new and exciting (and simple to put together)! And best of all, I didn't have to think about what to cook or run to the store to get extra ingredients. Yes, I like this service very much!
Hello Fresh offers various boxes, with a vegetarian option too. Also, you can arrange deliveries on a weekly or biweekly basis, and always pause for holidays or cancel altogether. They have offers all over the web, so if you try it, make sure to hunt one down!
Yesterday, I was in Marylebone and it reminded me of a photo I took last month on Moxon Street.
Moxon Street is a charming, tiny road with a gastropub, a flower shop, a cheese shop, a restaurant and a chocolate shop. The end of the road (just past the carpark behind Waitrose) lies a great playground in Paddington Street Gardens. The playground has served well when I am running errands with kids and need to give them a break from the pushchair/stroller.
Marylebone Florist Shop
The Ginger Pig
It's been such a busy (and great) spring. I've been working a lot with Urban Living, specifically neighbourhood searches and helping families identify which area will work best for them.
I love sharing all the practical information, but I reallllllly enjoy showing them a favourite chocolate shop, bakery or tucked away charming park as well. If it involves food, there are always samples too. Win, win.
Since Gail's Bakery stopped making their perfect triple chocolate cookie, I decided to find a substitute that would fill this pressing void in my life. I take my chocolate seriously, and no other shop cookie would do. So I googled.
I thought about who might have the best dark chocolate cookie recipe. I thought... Nigella.
The recipe calls for a LOT of chocolate, but it so worth it. I used 70% chocolate and baked with these baking chips (which proved a lot more economical for my holiday baking obsession). These cookies are delicious, and while not as easy as popping into Gail's during the school run to grab my latest obsession (probably a good thing), they are pretty quick to make and most certainly one of my favourite recipes these days.
Thanks for sharing Evi, and thanks for letting me post your lovely photo above!
Here are some photos from the fabulous flower arranging workshop at Heal's last weekend.
The children's event was led by the talented florists of WildAbout and hosted in Heal's Quarter Cafe. WildAbout brought the prettiest flowers for the kids to use and each child went home with their own beautiful arrangement. Lovely way to spend a Saturday morning and such a pretty addition to our dining table this week!
There's another children's flower workshop in March, and one for adults too! I can highly recommend these events as we've been to two of them and both were so fun and fantastic.
In fact, Heal's hosts several creative and inspiring events in their stores. You can view them all here.
Last week I attended the babyGap + Paddington Bear launch at Gap's Oxford Street store. I was able to check out the new the limited-edition collection, inspired by Paddington Bear himself.
I loved how the most iconic pieces, like Paddington's blue duffle coat and yellow wellies, were brought to life. Other favourites were so much of the girls' collection, including a darling polka dot cape, spring dresses and some cute spring jeans. If I had a baby girl, I would most definitely buy her this dress too! The collection is available for newborns to 24 months.
Here are some photos from the morning at Oxford Street.
These fantastic fairytale-inspired blankets are perfect for cuddling kids in the winter. E-Side, an eco-friendly lifestyle boutique, recently sent us a yellow Fairytale Forest blanket and my daughter has slept with every night since it arrived. She loves the magical forest pattern and how soft it feels!
The blankets are made of 100% super soft organic cotton and are inspired by the stories of writer Hans Christen Andersen. While the fairytale blankets are perfect for smaller children or even as a playmat for babies (75 x100 cm), older kids may prefer the larger Greenland Gang Organic Blankets, below (120 x 150cm).
The entire E-Side range for kids is here, including cool furniture, accessories and toys.
Heal's events for kids are one of London's best kept secrets! The furniture and home accessories store recently launched a series of design-inspired activities for kids and they've just amped it up by hosting a kite making activity and flower arranging workshop for February. The activities take place on Saturdays and are led by top industry professionals. The cost is just £5 and places are bookable online.
The children's workshops coincide with their special event this month—Discover: The Modern Craft Market, which is a two-week celebration of contemporary British craft. Daily demonstrations and hands on workshops for adults and children will be taking place in their Tottenham Court Road store (Feb 3-15th for the market/store demo's / with children's workshops on 15 & 22 Feb).
I've booked my daughter in for the flower arranging course at Heal's, led by the talented florists from Wildabout Flowers. This will be her second workshop at Heal's and also with the Wildabout team. Just before Christmas she attended the wreath-making workshop and made the prettiest wreath with the most beautiful, quality materials. It was our favourite Christmas decoration! (Some photos below.)
I'm also going to pop in on my own during the Modern Craft Market and check out one of the demonstrations on a weekday. I've always been interested in screen-printing, so I think it would be fun to see Kangan Arora work her magic in-store. If you're in the area, make sure to pop into Heal's and see what's happening this month.
To view children's events and book places for kite making or flower arranging, go here.
(The top photo was taken in Heal's Quarter Cafe. Below a few photos from the wreath-making workshop.)
I'm spending more time in East London lately, and I love getting to know this part of the city better.
A few weeks ago—on a sunny winter's day—I visited Victoria Park for the first time. Just wandering peacefully, we walked along the canal, visited the great children's playground and then walked north on Lauritson Road into the village area of this tucked away Hackney neighbourhood.
There are several lovely shops along the two main shopping streets in Victoria Park Village. I would especially love to go back and visit: Haus, a contemporary furniture and home store; The Deli Downstairs for a yummy lunch; and Loafing, which looked perfect for a tea and cake.
I'm feeling inspired through music these days. My husband bought me the UE Boom, an impressive portable speaker that not only looks and feels like a dream, but it also boasts an impressive sound and is lightweight, wireless and durable. It's my new favourite gadget!
So, I'm using my UE Boom on daily basis—as I work, clean, cook. It's making even the mundane more inspiring.
Also, we downloaded the digital music service Spotify last year and it's proven so valuable as it means we have access to millions of songs through our phones/ipads/laptops. Each member in our family (even our baby-toddler) has individual playlists too. When we upgraded to Spotify's premium service for a monthly fee, it meant our music became advert-free (yessss!) and that our playlists were available "offline" (also super valuable).
My music changes with the day, the weather, the work, and the chore. Today I'm enjoying two of my favourite bands: The National and Of Monsters and Men. If you have any recommendations, please send them my way. I need to beef of my playlist. :)
(p.s. the UE Boom comes in a variety of colours. Also, it streams from your device via bluetooth technology.)
Carousel sells everything you need to create a stylish party with minimal effort. Started by London mum Charlie, the shop offers the perfect party selection of plain and patterned paper plates, cups, napkins, as well bunting, confetti, dressing up, and traditional sweets and party toys.
The offerings are a collection of fun, modern accessories and traditional party favourites—all stylishly designed for an effortlessly cool celebration!
It's all hard to resist, but I really love the selection of small toys for party bags. My kids went bananas over the mini gumball machines, so we'll definitely be back for more of those this year. Happy Partying!