Summer Vibes

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The fact that I’m writing this post while gazing out of the window at a grey sky and spitting rain only serves to fuel my desire to escape to sunnier climes as soon as possible. Sitting at my desk with a woolly cardigan draped around my shoulders and my feet snugly ensconced in a pair of slippers, it seems like the ideal time to start planning my summer wardrobe. While the sun may elude us here in London, we do have a holiday planned to Mallorca, which means at least one week of guaranteed beach weather this summer (a vast improvement on last year as I can only recall one or two days of glorious sunshine). So here are some of the items I would like to be packing into my suitcase come August:

  1. A pair of denim shorts are a perennial summer staple and these ones from Gap have just the right amount of distressing so they look naturally casual rather than too try-hard.
  2. I rarely wear high heels in summer and these silver espadrilles from Whistles are smart enough to take you from beach to bar while still being supremely comfortable.
  3. The soft sheen of rose gold looks fabulous against tanned skin and this stunning Astley Clarke moonstone pendant can be worn on its own or layered with other delicate necklaces.
  4. I tend to stick to a neutral or monochrome colour palette all year round but it’s fun to liven up an outfit with brightly coloured accessories such as this beach bag by Sophie Anderson. Inspired by the designer’s travels in Colombia, the roomy tote has been handcrafted by the country’s skilled weavers.
  5. This gorgeous dress from Isabel Marant’s Étoile collection has popped up in my Bloglovin’ feed quite a few times over the past month or so. The drop waist silhouette and soft ruffles are universally flattering and while it qualifies as an investment piece rest assured that this is a dress that you will want to keep wearing long after the temperatures drop.
  6. Simple but oh so stylish, this striped romper is the kind of thing I imagine chic Parisian girls wear on their annual summer jaunts to the Riviera. Pair with huge shades and a wide brimmed hat to truly channel your inner Brigitte Bardot.
  7. An off the shoulder top is a must this summer and this one from H&M will look great with the Gap shorts or a pair of jeans on cooler days.
  8. Finally, a hat is also a necessity to protect your face, scalp and hair from the sun’s rays. To avoid it getting crushed in your suitcase it is best to wear it on the plane, which also helps you switch into holiday mode!

Apple & Cinnamon Muffins with Crumble Topping

Apple & Cinnamon Muffins

Apple and cinnamon is one of my all time favourite combinations and the two flavours come together beautifully in these muffins. The crumble topping can be omitted but it adds a bit of extra bite and texture and reminds me of the apple & cinnamon muffins that Starbucks used to sell. These are perfect for putting in lunch boxes for a sweet treat – yes, they contain sugar but they beat shop bought biscuits and cereal bars hands down in my book.

Ingredients (makes around 12 muffins):

  • 100 g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence 
  • 200 ml milk 
  • Grated zest from one lemon
  • 200 g plain flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt

Filling:

  • 3 large apples
  • 1 tbsp butter for frying
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Crumble topping:

  • 75 g cold butter
  • 50 g rolled oats
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 80 g sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. In a bowl whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Melt the butter and add to the egg mixture along with the milk and lemon zest.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl before adding to the batter.
  3. Cut the apples into small slices and fry them in butter, sugar and cinnamon. Let them cool down slightly.
  4. Add the apples to the batter and and fill up paper cases placed in a muffin tray until 2/3 full.
  5. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and pinch together with the oats, flour and sugar in a bowl.
  6. Scatter some crumble on top of each muffin.
  7. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.

NB: I had a lot of crumble topping left over so next time I will either halve the quantities or have some more fruit the ready to make an apple crumble at the same time.

 

Hunkydory Fall/Winter

As soon as August draws to an end my sartorial thoughts turn to the autumn/winter collections. The summer sales have never held much appeal for me, especially as my summer dresses and denim shorts spend about 50 weeks of the year in a box under my bed! A good piece of knitwear on the other hand is likely to see numerous outings between September and April (and sometimes even May!). And when it comes to cosy and cute sweaters nobody does it better than Swedish fashion brand Hunkydory. This season’s collection is not just about the knitwear though, as layering is the name of the game with unstructured coats and soft jersey T-shirts in muted tones creating a cool, laidback vibe. ‘Effortless elegance’ is how the brand sums up its F/W collection and I couldn’t agree more.

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Life Lately

Our two-week summer holiday in Sweden  has all but faded to a distant memory but luckily we managed to fit in a bit of beach time before school started last week. We spent two consecutive Saturdays at the Witterings (both east and west) and rounded off August with a three-night break at a house on the beach, near Rye in Sussex.

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{East Wittering Beach – the weather wasn’t great but we spent the day with friends and had a lovely time playing on the beach}

West Wittering

{Having not been spoiled with sunny weather this year, on the hottest day of the summer we packed up the car and headed down to West Wittering in Sussex at 8am. A full day of swimming, building sand castles and soaking up the rays.}

V Festival

{Cameron and I went to the V Festival in Chelmsford to see Ella Henderson, George Ezra, and Ellie Goulding among others. A great experience despite the weather and toilet facilities!}

Bank Holiday

{We ended this year’s summer holidays with an impromptu weekend away at Petts Level in Sussex where we rented a lovely house right on the beach.}

Now we’re hurtling headfirst into autumn, my favourite season of them all. Bring on the falling leaves, cosy scarves and bobble hats, mugs of steaming cocoa, and crackling log fires!

Summer Vibes ♥

Holidaying in Sweden is always a precarious venture when it comes to the weather – will the sun grace us with its presence or will chilly winds and pouring rain be the order of the day? This year it seems to be a mixed bag weather-wise. While the temperatures remain determined to stay around 19-22 degrees, there have been enough glimpses of sun to ensure that trips to the beach err on the side of pleasant rather than torturous. Having said that, the water in the lake near the house we have rented is far too cold for me to contemplate anything other than the very briefest of toe dips. The boys, however, have no qualms about braving the freezing water and staying in until their lips start to turn blue! The rest of us stay on land building sandcastles, reading books and admiring the beautiful scenery.

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The property we have rented is a big 1920s house with a terrace that overlooks the lake – perfect for enjoying a chilled glass of wine in the evenings – and a trampoline to entertain the cheeky monkeys. Fittingly, there is also a sauna to warm up in after a day spent on the beach!

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Currently Coveting #28: Patterns for Spring

My blog posting has been very sporadic to say the least since the start of this year due to both a lack of time and a lack of inspiration. January and February are not my favourite months and I’ve had no urge to do anything other than curl up on the sofa in front of the TV once the kids are in bed. But spring is finally in the air and with the warmer weather and lighter evenings comes a renewed sense of energy and a desire to start blogging a bit more again.

Last weekend I also did a mini clear out of my wardrobe to make sure it is spruced up for spring. Recently I have been really inspired by bloggers who embrace the concept of a capsule wardrobe and a more minimal lifestyle and while I am not wholly there yet I have slowly been ridding my closet of things I no longer wear.I’m happy with most of what is in there now but a couple of new pieces for spring wouldn’t go amiss. Last spring was all about stripes but this season I’m drawn to bolder prints on blouses and shirts that can be paired with my trusty jeans (current favourites: Topshop Leigh jeans in black or distressed grey) or cropped trousers. Add a pair of ballerinas or Converse and I’m good to go.

Patterns for Spring

{Any of these pretty tops from Anthropologie would fit the bill but if I had to choose one I’d probably pick the short sleeved top in the middle of the top row.}

For a slightly subtler take on the patterned trend I also love these two tops from H&M:

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What’s your must have item of clothing this spring?

Five on Friday

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{A family outing to Leith Hill Tower. The breathtaking views from the top were definitely worth the steep climb to get there.}

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{I visited the Designer Showrooms at London Fashion Week for work earlier this week.}

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{Our new kitchen is slowly but surely coming together. And no the doors aren’t meant to be bright blue – they are just covered in a protective film!}

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{I went to see this year’s most talked about film with a group of girlfriends. I haven’t read the book but apart from some sniggering at the more, shall we say, risque scenes it was actually quite dull.}

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{Spring blooms snapped on the walk home from school yesterday. I’m definitely ready to wave goodbye to winter now.}

Hope you all have a great weekend! X

Amsterdam ♥

Another long absence from the blog! We are still in the midst of building chaos and living without a kitchen is starting to take its toll. I don’t think I can take many more microwaved meals and takeaway pizzas! Luckily, the husband and I had booked a very timely weekend break in Amsterdam earlier this month and it was the perfect opportunity to escape from all the noise and dust for a couple of days. It is one of our favourite European cities but the last time we went was at least 12 years ago so a return visit was long overdue.

Heathrow pod

{In the driverless pod taking us from the car park to Terminal 5 at Heathrow. Very high tech indeed!}

Hotel Pool

{After a slight mishap where we caught the wrong train at the airport and ended up at Amsterdam South rather than at the Central Station,  we arrived at the hotel and headed straight for the hotel spa complete with pool, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi.}

Hotel bar

{A pre-dinner drink in the hotel bar – we stayed at the Hotel Amrath which had fantastic service and was in a great location.}

Tales & Spirits

{On the first night we had dinner and yummy cocktails at Tales & Spirits.}

Amsterdam

{We spent many hours walking around Amsterdam taking in the sights. The weather was cold but (mostly) dry.}

Park

{The sun came out when we strolled through Vondelpark.}

Droog

{A really cute side table at cool interiors shop Droog.}

Diamonds

{We visited the Gassan diamond factory..}

Foam Photographic

{..and the Foam photography museum.}

Pancakes

{We feasted on pancakes (a must when in Amsterdam) and…}

Restaurant RED

{…ate the most divine caviar, lobster and steak at the very excellent Restaurant RED.}

Breakfast

{A lie-in and breakfast in bed on the Sunday morning…}

Flight home

{…before flying back home to London.}

It was the first time that we had both been away from the children for more than one night. We did really miss them but they had a great time with their grandparents and I think they’re old enough now for us to make a weekend away a yearly occurrence. We’re thinking of Rome next!

 

Stockholm Fashion Week – Day 2

Day 2 of Stockholm Fashion Week and two of my favourite labels – Hunky Dory (their knitwear is to die for) and House of Dagmar – had their turn on the catwalk. There were also feminine yet edgy offerings from new kid on the block Valerie while Ann-Sofie Back opted for a more intimate invite-only presentation for her diffusion line BACK. H&M-owned Cheap Monday showed a punk-inspired shipwrecked look brimming with sailor stripes, big checks and threadbare knits. Not too sure about the ‘smudged mascara all over the face’ makeup though…

On a slightly unrelated note I have been bemoaning the out-of-touch seasonal cycle of fashion where, despite all the talk of fast fashion and in-season collections, it is still nigh on impossible to find a winter coat in the middle of January. The zip on my (three years old) Zara coat broke yesterday and, as it’s pretty darn freezing outside, I wanted to find a replacement ASAP. So off to town I went this morning only to find that all the decent coats were in the Sale, which would have been a good thing and saved me some money had there been ANY in my size. In the end I spent £80 on a parka style number from Zara’s ‘youth’ department. It’s OK and will see me through the next couple of months but I really resent spending money on a coat that I know I’ll want to replace come this autumn.

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Hunky Dory

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Hunky Dory

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Hunky Dory

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Valerie

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Valerie

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House of Dagmar

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House of Dagmar

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Cheap Monday

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BACK

 

 

 

 

 

Stockholm Fashion Week – Day 1

Stockholm Fashion Week kicked off in my old hometown yesterday and in between working and looking after two sick children I have been watching the live stream from the shows. Clean lines and a monochrome colour scheme dominated the catwalks and while some may deem the lack of colour and flamboyance boring, I think the muted palette makes the clothes infinitely more wearable. As most of you probably know by now, I love the Scandinavian design aesthetic both when it comes to fashion and interior. A peek into my wardrobe would reveal that, if my budget allowed it, most of these creations could hang there quite comfortably. And it was not ALL black, white and grey – there were flashes of yellow at Carine Wester and a pretty combo of pastel pink and leopard print at Ida Sjöstedt .

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Whyred

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Whyred

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Carin Wester

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Ida Sjöstedt

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Filippa K

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