Friday, 28 February 2014

Chocolate Lovers, Unite!


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. 

My 'Nigella + dark chocolate cookie' googling led me to Cook Taste Live where blogger Evi cooks and photographs her delicious baked goods. I found a recipe for Nigella's Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies on Evi's site and I had to try it!

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! 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Flower Arranging at Heal's



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.







Friday, 14 February 2014

Paddington Bear and babyGap


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.




Friday, 7 February 2014

Fairytale blankets from E-Side



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.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Heal's Kids Events + The Modern Craft Market


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.)



Thursday, 30 January 2014

Victoria Park / East London


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.

Via Haus


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Music + the UE Boom


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.)

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Carousel



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!


Thursday, 9 January 2014

Indigo Rocket



Indigo Rocket is a modern accessory shop for the family. Bright, geometric patterns adorn hair clips, baby blankets, bunting and more. Such happy, modern designs!

You can buy Indigo Rocket items via Etsy or at London children's boutique Niddle Noddle in Crouch End. Also, a selection of baby blankets via the Freckled Frog.

Indigo Rocket products are handmade in the UK.



Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Holidaying in the UK / DEVON


As much as I love London, sometimes it's just so nice to take a break from the city and breathe... This summer we spent time touring around the country, and I fell in love with the UK all over again. I'll share my favourites over a number of posts, but first I'll start with DEVON.

//// We loved Dartmouth / Salcombe / Slapton Sands / Castle Ruins ////

We hit the weather jackpot when we visited Devon this summer. The UK was experiencing a warm and sunny summer and it perfectly coincided with our coastal holiday. Here are my family's top picks from our first trip to Devon:




Dartmouth / An ancient harbour town set along the River Dart.  We walked along the charming town streets (dating to the 14th-Century) and then took part in the tourist-favourite pastime of crabbing. Local shops sell everything you need to crab at the harbour—nets, bucket, line, pole and bait.  Our kids loved it!  For dinner, we grabbed fish 'n chips from Rockfish. There's a takeaway shop and a sit-down restaurant in separate locations. The fish was so delicious. 







Salcombe / When we first drove into the town we marveled at the tropical-like water. Were we really in the UK? We even spotted a few palm trees! Remnants of Salcombe Castle sit at the coastline, and like Dartmouth, boats fill the harbour. We took a water taxi to the South Sands, where the beachside remains unspoilt by buildings or shops. Salcombe town itself is has a charming preppy-nautical feel. There are some really impressive homes here too.







Beaches / There are so many beautiful beaches in Devon, just get over the fact that most are pebble beaches! I'm not sure of the name of this beach we visited, but it was just down the road from Dartmouth. 





Slapton Sands / These flat beaches were former practice grounds for D-Day. We stopped to view the beachside monuments, dedicated to both soliders and local residents.





Berry Pomeroy Castle / This castle is tied to my family history, so it was particularly interesting to walk around the ruins and listen to the audio tape. I took a bunch of photos that I still need to send to my grandfather. I would definitely recommend seeing what English Heritage or National Trust sites are nearby and pick a couple to visit. 

If you have any suggestions for other places to visit in Devon, please let me know!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Christmas and London


London is a magical place to be at Christmas. A few photos from my Instagram over the season: 








Thursday, 12 December 2013

Old English Company


The Old English Company uses a creative blend of illustration and typography to create cool prints for the home. The designs are inspired by food and travel, so naturally it's sooooo hard to pick a favourite... But I'll give it a try, anyway. Here are a few of my top picks:

For those with American roots (here).



For lovers of London (here).




For bakers and the cake obsessed (here).



For civilised dinners with manners (maybe) intact (here).




For little ones and the nursery (here).



West Elm London / Opening Day


I popped into West Elm on their opening day in London last week. While I was queuing at the cash register, the official photographer asked to take my photo — I just found it here! (I'm at the bottom, second to last photo.) Not pictured is the after-shot of the gift—a throw for my mother-in-law—all beautifully packaged and gift-wrapped by West Elm staff.

A big welcome to this beautiful US import and their two floors of furniture, decor and accessories for the modern London home. When you visit, make sure you spend some time in the Market section of West Elm—pretty home practicals and perfect gifts. There's also a coffee and drinks bar there too.

Also, don't miss downstairs where West Elm has teamed up with Etsy and UK interiors blog Bright Bazaar to create a gallery wall selling artwork by local London artists.

Here are a few snaps from my visit to West Elm London.




Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Well Read Women

 

When I saw Well Read Women featured on this blog, I knew I had to have it. The book features 50 beautiful watercolour portraits of fiction's most beloved heroines. New York Illustrator Samantha Hahn has also included defining quotes from each character in hand-lettered text.

Well Read Women is the kind of book I want to give my best friend. It's thoughtful, it's inspiring and it's beautiful.



Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The ShopUp - By Babyccino Kids


Hey Londoners! This Sunday and Monday (Dec 1st and 2nd), my friends at Babyccino Kids are hosting an amazing shopping event in Primrose Hill. These girls have channeled their impeccable taste into THE shopping event of the year, and I'm so excited to go! 

Can't wait to see some of my favourite online shops in person: Olli Ella, Carousel, Lale, Niddle Noddle, Home & Kids (and so many more!). Perfect for Christmas shopping. And of course, there are several thoughtful activities to keep the kiddos occupied — a book corner, temporary tattoos, Anorak magazine colouring, ice cream van, photographer, mini manicures and more.

Hope you'll be there too!

All the shops here.
Kids activities here.
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