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!).

IMG_8586

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

IMG_8585

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

IMG_8603

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

IMG_8611

{Some fabulous cards…}

IMG_8615

{..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.

2538013

{I love the windows and wooden parquet floor}

2538027

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

2538037

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

2538075

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

2537973

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

2537953

{I. Want. That. Lamp}

2537941

{A traditional Swedish kakelugn in one of the bedrooms}

2541273

{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.

20140922-122514-44714395

{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!}

9a96bf8dcc192902f84eb1f596d6dbe5

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

toffee5841

{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…}

77d9c8b0e9717cb7a34ba06be287b3f9

{…In front of a roaring log fire…}

39d49e51ff34905626685142e7ca0b37

{…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

 

 

Five on Friday

IMG_8348

{The boys went back to school last Tuesday. For one year they are at the same school, before it is time for Cameron to move on to secondary school.}

IMG_8357

{Clemmie didn’t start school until today so she and I went to Sweden for three nights last weekend to see my sister and her kids. We had loads of time at the airport before our flight so I treated her to an Anna from Frozen doll. Traveling with just one child was so easy and we had a great time.}

IMG_8500

{Today was a big day for Clemmie but she loved putting on her uniform and going into school. Some of you may remember that I was less than thrilled about her starting school so young but after several chats with the headteacher I felt reassured that the focus in this first year is very much on play.}

IMG_8506

{Some new beauty buys: A Rodial bee venom serum that I bought on the flight back from Stockholm and I also managed to get my hands on the much-hyped Multi-colour Les Beiges by Chanel. I feel a beauty post coming up soon!}

IMG_8507

{I am a self-confessed knitwear fanatic and these two jumpers from H&M and Hunky Dory are new purchases for the coming season along with a pair of boots, also from H&M. I love the zip detailing on all of them.}

Now that all three children are at school, I hope to have some more time for blogging. I have so many ideas but time has been very scarce over the summer holidays. Thank you to all of you who kept reading and commenting despite the rather patchy updating.

This weekend we’re going to Bristol to visit an old friend of mine. Last time we went it took us over four hours to get there so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the traffic will be light. Hope you have a fantastic weekend whatever you’re doing. X

Interior Inspiration: Beautiful Boudoirs

We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep but lately I have to admit that I’ve been guilty of burning the candle at both ends with late nights and early mornings. It started on holiday when we would stay up late, drinking wine and enjoying the balmy weather and peaceful surroundings. Now that we’re back home I’ve ditched the wine but I’m still staying up late working, reading blogs and watching Orange is the new Black (I only started watching it a couple of weeks ago and am already on episode 9 of the second series..) With the holiday behind us, lie-ins are also a thing of the past especially as the boys start back at school tomorrow.

I know what I need to do: go to bed earlier, cut down on caffeine, avoid looking at the computer at least an hour before bedtime, have a warm bath in the evening etc. But in the meantime, just looking at these pictures of gorgeous, restful bedrooms (from my Pinterest board – where else?) is also helping me feel more relaxed. Which one is your favourite?

4ad3ac7e59c4372988696e3021461f1c

{How could you fail to get a good night’s sleep in this serene bedroom?}

4b7d714b5d025b4f09b73418b8f512e2

{The bedspread, the bedside table, the lamps – I want it all!}

0fa8c28b2c7453da7e254655480e1c4a

{A bit too colourful for me but I love the picture above the bed.}

2817860ea65e70c40167c9fef843b3c7

{Now that the colder months are coming what could be more luxurious than a fireplace in your bedroom?}

019109cb941cd22577d6a1ab6a786412-1

{I love the colour scheme, the touch of greenery and the balcony. Bohemian style at its best.}

ee331339bc00025e16819fc6201778e0

{This headboard is on my wishlist.}

27b32dbbe8ca35a85e23c0bed890742f

{Such a cute way of displaying your shoes.}

And on that note I’m off to bed! Early start tomorrow. Sweet dreams to you all! X

 

 

 

 

The BBC Good Food Festival

Last Saturday we went to the BBC Good Food Festival held in the picturesque grounds of the historic Hampton Court Palace. It really was a feast for all the senses: a beautiful setting, gorgeous smells and of course lots of yummy food to taste. And taste it we did, walking up and down the stalls sampling everything from cheese and chorizo to brownies, biscuits and fudge before deciding what to buy. We were lucky with the weather too, it was the last day of sunshine before the rain arrived.

IMG_8329

{The boys and I in front of the fudge stall that sold almost every flavour imaginable from traditional vanilla and clotted cream to Jammy Dodger, Skittles and Bailey’s fudge. Casper got a tad over excited!}

IMG_8333

{Cameron tasting some cheese. In the end we bought five different varieties to take home, including caramelised onion, mango and garlic cheeses.}

IMG_8330

{These deep fried sugary churros were delicious – even more so when dipped in the pot of melted chocolate that they were served with. I have found a recipe on Pinterest that I intend to try next time I feel in need of a calorific treat.}

IMG_8311

{The beautiful palace was the perfect backdrop. It’s almost impossible to get a photo of Cameron these days without him doing the ‘Victory’ sign. Must be a ten-year-old boy thing!}

IMG_8331

{When you got bored of eating there were lots of games to play in the gardens, including croquet, giant chess and connect four. The children challenged Daddy to the tug of war and, thanks to a superb team effort, they won!}

IMG_8334

{Clemmie loved the ‘princess’ stamp that the ticket lady stamped on our hands when we arrived at the food festival}

All in all, a lovely day out. This week so far has been work, work and more work. Looking forward to the weekend and my mini break next week. X

 

Linked In

Links I love

1. I’m loving this simple twist on the classic ponytail

2. 25 products under $20 that will change (or at least improve) your life

3. Great tips for organising your closet and some inspirational pictures

4. The best back-to-school backpacks

5. Missing that holiday vibe? Here are seven magical winter travel destinations

6. Find out which everyday habits will improve the quality of your sleep