Currently Coveting #27: The Liberty Christmas Calendar

Liberty Christmas Calendar

 

With only 36 days to go until Christmas Day, the festive countdown has well and truly begun. In a few days’ time I will have to go up into the loft to hunt down the children’s wooden advent calendar and put it on the mantlepiece, ready to be filled with chocolates on December 1. This year though I rather fancy an advent calendar of my own and, as much as I love chocolate, my sights are set on this beauty calendar from Liberty. With a gorgeous picture of the iconic Regent Street store on the front, inside each Liberty Print decorated box hides a decadent beauty treat, from skincare to scent and everything in-between. If you’ve ever visited Liberty’s Beauty Hall you will know what a fabulous selection of must-have beauty buys there is to choose from.

Liberty Christmas Calendar 2

Winter Warmers

Winter Warmers Collage

The temperature has dropped in the last week or so and snuggle season is finally upon us. The temptation is to stay in, with the heating on and the fire lit, and get cosy on the sofa with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. To make sure my feet stay warm I would ensconce them in the super soft cashmere bed socks from The White Company – a pair in every colour would do me just fine! Scented candles are a must at this time of year and, if Santa’s reading, the new vanilla candle by Diptyque is on my Christmas list.

But we all have to venture out into the cold at some point and for me the emphasis is definitely on staying warm. My children may be happy in short sleeves (and crocs if I let them get away with it!) even when the thermometer is showing single figures but I will be wrapped up in these cosy winter warmers. The Topshop padded parka jacket with borg lining is winging its way to me as we speak and I’m also contemplating ordering the cute pom pom knit beanie from Anthropologie. Add a pair off Uggs (if I didn’t already have a pair, I would invest in these boots with extra bling) and a cashmere snood like this one from Brora and I’m good to go.

I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping for snow this year!

Five on Friday

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{This week was half term and we were so lucky with the weather at the start and end of the week. On Monday we went to a nearby National Trust garden and walked around the lake, stopping along the way to climb trees and skim some pebbles.}

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{I also took the boys to have their hair cut. It was long overdue as they could hardly see from under their fringes, but we only seem to have time to go in the school holidays.}

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{I went to have my own hair cut and coloured the following day. A bit of a radical change but I think I like it.}

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{Today, of course, was Halloween so the pumpkins had to be carved and placed on the porch…}

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{…before my three little monsters went out trick or treating around the neigbourhood, returning with buckets full of candy. Enough to last them until Christmas I think!}

I’m pretty exhausted myself so that’s it from me tonight. Hope you have a great weekend! X

Life Lately…

Sorry, I know that I’ve been MIA for over two weeks now. Bizarrely, I seem to have even less time now that all three children are at school! This is probably because I’m trying to catch up on all the things that have been festering on my to-do list for the last few years such as clearing out all the closets and toy cupboards and finally putting together our photo albums, dating back to 2011. The blog has definitely taken a backseat and, as we are starting a major building project next month, I suspect it will continue to do so for a while longer. But here is a quick update on the last two weeks.

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{I love that moment of calm after the morning chaos. I drop all the kids at school and have breakfast at my desk while checking my emails and reading a few blogs}

Chocolate Sundae

 

{We went out for dinner last weekend and the boys both ordered chocolate brownie sundaes for pudding. I didn’t realise they would be so huge!!}

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{More Instagram magnets for the fridge. A lovely way to relive some of the summer memories on a daily basis}

 

 

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{Clemmie goes to the cutest ballet class every Saturday morning where they dress up in fairytale costumes and dance through the stories. Needless to say, she loves it}

 

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{I went to see Gone Girl at the cinema last Friday. I haven’t read the book but the movie was fantastic so if you haven’t already go see it}

 

 

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{Yesterday was Casper’s birthday so on Sunday he invited nine of his friends to a quad biking party. Bikes, mud, pizza, cake and presents- life doesn’t get much better when you’re eight years old!}

Thanks for reading! ‘Til next time. XO

 

New In For Autumn

Fall fashion

{Top row l-r: Fake Fur Gilet, Jumper, Jeans all from Topshop. Bottom row l-r: Dress from Topshop, Jacket and Jumper from Anthropologie}

This week the weather took a distinctly autumnal turn with some crisp sunny days but also plenty of rain and wind. Personally I don’t mind one bit as it is a great excuse to stay indoors, light some candles and cosy up on the sofa. Soup is the perfect food on chilly days and today we had this delicious fish soup for dinner. The colder weather has also spurred me on to update my wardrobe for fall. I know one of my autumn resolutions was to stop spending but the best laid plans as they say…

Added to my existing wardrobe, these six pieces should see me through the next few months. Maybe just a pair of knee high boots and a new winter coat and then I’m done!

 

Five on Friday

Hello! Friday again! The only good thing about the weeks flying by is that the weekends come around sooner than you expect. Yesterday was my birthday so today’s Five on Friday is a bit of a birthday bonanza. It was a great day – the sun was out and I was suitably spoiled by family and friends with cards, presents, champagne and even a cake made by my husband (his first one!).

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{Once the kids were dropped off at school my husband took me out for brunch at a local cafe}

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{I had my favourite – eggs benedict, with a large latte of course}

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{Well, it was my birthday so it would have been rude not to..}

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{Some fabulous cards…}

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{..and presents, including these Dinny Hall earrings and Stella & Dot necklace}

Tonight will be a more sedate affair – the husband is going out and one child is away at a sleepover – and I plan to eat the leftover tacos, maybe watch a movie and just relax. Tomorrow will be a whirlwind of kids’ activities, looking at flooring for the new kitchen, and dropping off three huge boxes of baby stuff at the local Good as New Sale, followed by joint birthday drinks with friends in the evening.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! X

Interior Inspiration: A City Chic Apartment

City living has many benefits – I’m an urbanite at heart and the proximity to shops, restaurants, museums and other amenities is a major draw for me. Before we had children, my husband and I lived in Notting Hill in West London and I have to admit that I was reluctant to decamp to the suburbs when we first decided to by a house. However, the thought of living in central London with three young children is less than appealing – all that traffic, pollution and general noise and stress. But if we ever decided to up sticks and move to Sweden I would happily settle for an apartment in central Stockholm. The city is much smaller than London with plenty of greenery and water surrounding it. If I had also won the lottery, this four bedroom flat in the ultra posh area of  Östermalm would be top of my list of dream homes. It belongs to TV presenter and journalist Ebba von Sydow and is currently up for sale (view the details here). With big, airy rooms, lots of original features and a separate entrance with a lift that takes you straight to the front door, it is the ultimate in city chic luxury.

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{I love the windows and wooden parquet floor}

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{Oh, to have the space for a bookcase like this!}

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{The rooms flow seamlessly into one another, creating an open and inviting living space}

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{A white kitchen has been on my wishlist for a long time}

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{More beautiful flooring and the white paneling adds a sense of calm}

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{I. Want. That. Lamp}

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{A traditional Swedish kakelugn in one of the bedrooms}

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{And finally a balcony with views over one of Stockholm’s loveliest neighbourhoods}

 

 

Fall in Love with Fall ♥

Did I mention that Fall is my favourite season? Yesterday was the first official day of autumn so it seems like a good time to celebrate some of the reasons why I love this time of year.

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{Never mind Sonia Rykiel, I am the Queen of Knitwear and I can’t wait to dig out those sweaters (old and new) hiding in the wardrobe and team them with my jeans, ankle boots and a long cosy scarf. Comfort dressing at its best!}

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{I’m also looking forward to going for long walks, marveling at nature’s shifting colours and breathing in the crisp autumn air.}

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{Autumn is the time to eat toffee apples, apple pie, apple crumble – in fact, pretty much apple anything.}

Hot chocolate

{Ideally with a cup of steaming hot chocolate with a generous dollop of whipped cream on top…}

Mulled Wine

{…Or a warming glass of mulled wine…}

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{…In front of a roaring log fire…}

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{…Wearing a pair of cosy sheepskin slippers}

Pumpkin

{Let’s not forget Halloween..}

Fireworks

{…and, of course, Bonfire Night and amazing fireworks displays.}

And then, when autumn and all of its wonders start to draw to a close, the countdown to Christmas begins in earnest.

Happy Autumn to you all ♥

 

 

Recipe: White chocolate & lemon cake

lemon & white chocolate cake

One of the things I love about living in a country with distinct seasons is how the food that we eat changes as we move from one season to the next. In summer it’s all about fruit, salads, seafood, barbecues and chilled rose wine, preferably enjoyed al fresco with the warm sun beating down. As the weather gets colder I start to crave richer and heavier foods like casseroles, lasagne (with or without the pasta), apple pie, and look forward to sipping hot chocolate or red wine in front of an open fire.

I’m sure my waistline would benefit from living in a warmer climate but my taste buds would definitely miss the autumnal fare. I am starting to draw up a list of recipes that I want to try this season but in the meantime this lemon and white chocolate cake is perfect for the Indian summer we’re having at the moment when it’s still warm enough to enjoy a cup of coffee and slice of cake out in the garden.

Ingredients:

  • 100 g butter
  • 100 g white chocolate
  • 2 egg
  • 200 ml sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 250 ml plain flour
  • Grated zest from one lemon and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

 

  1. Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy
  2. Melt the butter and stir in the chocolate. Add to the bowl
  3. Stir in the flour, lemon zest and juice
  4. Pour the batter into a greased loose base cake tin
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the middle of the oven at 200 degrees
  6. Sift over some icing sugar and serve with raspberries and whipped cream

Autumn Resolutions

Autumn resolutions

Summer is still lingering here in England – the weather is (mostly) T-shirt friendly and the Mr Whippy ice cream van is still parked outside the school gates every afternoon tempting us with yummy ice creams. But there are definite signs that autumn is drawing in – the mornings are much cooler, the evenings are getting darker and Halloween themed merchandise is starting to creep (yes pun intended!) onto the shop shelves.

Autumn will always represent new beginnings to me. It is my favourite season, not least because my birthday falls in it (as do my husband’s and both my sons’ so it’s a busy time of year). As a child the arrival of fall would be signalled by the start of a new academic year and all the paraphernalia that it entailed like new school shoes and new pencil case. And while I left education many years ago, I still feel that renewed sense of purpose at the end of summer. For me, autumn beats new year hands down when it comes to drawing up a list of goals and resolutions for the next 12 months.

Some of my goals from last autumn remain the same: exercise more, eat healthily, strive to live in the moment but I have also added a few more:

1. Be more selective about my spending. The 30 Day No Shopping Challenge made me think about how often I buy things (for myself or for the children) that I simply do not need. 9 times out of 10 I shop online and somehow when you ‘click to buy’ it feels less real than punching in your pin at the counter or handing over real, hard cash. I really should be focusing on clearing things out of our house rather than bringing more stuff in.

2. Stress less, or to quote that popular saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. Let’s face it, I’m not a brain surgeon – if I make a mistake at work it is not going to kill anyone. Similarly, the world will not end if my son is late for tennis or my daughter forgets her schoolbag. And let’s not even get started on all the replaying in my head of conversations I’ve had and agonising over what I’ve said or not said. If something is said and done there is no point in worrying about it.

3. Use my time wisely. Now that all three of my children are at school, all of a sudden I have 30 (!) child free hours every week. Sixteen of those will be taken up by work but the rest of the time is mine. Fourteen hours sounds like a lot but I know how easy it is to fritter them away doing nothing apart from checking Facebook, Pinning pictures of my dream home or searching online for stuff I don’t even need. So if I want to be able to fit in the things I want to do like exercising, seeing friends and blogging as well as the things I need to do like the ironing, cleaning and cooking I need to plan my time better.

4. Carry on blogging, but in a realistic way. I started this blog as a creative outlet when I was in between jobs. Now that I’m working again, the blog has slipped down my list of priorities and over the summer I questioned whether it was worth carrying on with. I have decided that it is but posting every day is not an option at the moment so two or three posts a week is a more realistic goal.

5. Make a real effort to spend more one-to-one time with my children. It’s easier said than done as the weekends tend to fill up with sporting activities, birthday parties etc but having time alone with each child is so important. They’re all at different stages of their childhood with different things going through their heads and I want to give all three of them a fair share of individual attention.

6. Get more sleep!!! I’m doing better than I was but still spend much of the day yawning and wishing for bedtime. I’m prescribing myself camomile tea and no screen before bedtime.

And on that note I’m off to bed. Happy Thursday everyone! X