The Weekend in Pictures

We had a balmy, sunny weekend here in the UK and, fingers crossed, this could be the week that I finally put away all the winter coats, hats and scarves. As usual the weekend went by in a flash but we had a lovely couple of days full of family time, which is not always possible with two (soon three!) school-age kids who often have their own activities and parties to go to.

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{Clemmie and her best friend hanging out at the bowling alley}

With three children aged 3-10 it can be hard to find activities that will please all of them but this weekend we definitely found one: bowling. The boys have already been several times, in fact Cameron had a bowling party for his ninth birthday, but it was the first time Clemmie tried it. I’m pleased to say that she loved it, even if I did wince every time she insisted on picking up the bowling ball, fearing she would drop it on her feet.

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{Cameron going in for the strike}

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{No visit to the bowling alley is complete without a slush puppy to drink}

Sunday, of course, was Mother’s Day and, after I had enjoyed leisurely breakfast in bed (or as leisurely as it can be with the kids fighting over the toast and covering the duvet in strawberry jam!), we walked up to Hampton Court Palace. After strolling around the gardens and playing a few games of hide and seek, we enjoyed some yummy cakes in the cafe.

I’m proud to tell you that some of these pictures were taken by Cameron who is developing a real interest in photography. He’s now saving up for his own camera and I think it would be great to have a hobby that we can both share.

 

Hampton Court 1

{Me and my brood}

Hampton Court 2

Hampton Court Lion

Hampton Court Statue

Hampton Court

Pink flowers

{Hampton Court gardens in bloom is one of the prettiest sights around this time of year}

Daffodils

Sorry for bombarding you with so many pictures but on the rare occasions that we remember to bring the DSLR with us, we take A LOT of photos!

Hope you’ve had a good start to the week. ‘Til the next post xxx

 

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Happy Mother’s Day ♥

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mums out there, hope you have a fantastic day. Young or old, married or single, working or stay-at-home: remember you are all fabulous! XXX

Mother's Day Gifts

{My eldest son woke my husband up this morning at 7.30am (it was really 6.30am I suppose as the clocks moved forward today and my husband is NOT a morning person) saying “C’mon Daddy, it’s mummy’s day, we need to get organised!”}

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{And get organised they did! I had breakfast in bed – smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, my favourite – and was showered with gifts and (best of all) lots of kisses and cuddles}

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Mother's Day gifts 5

 

Five on Friday

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{A Monday afternoon treat – vanilla latte and a slice of chocolate cake at Costa}

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{New arm candy! Two bracelets in rose gold – my new obsession – from Stella & Dot. Perfect for summer and will look even better with a tan.}

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{That time in the morning when there is still peace and quiet before the rush to get ready for school and the arguments over who used up the last bit of milk start..}

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{Casper VERY carefully carrying a cup of milky tea for me at the Beavers’ mothers’ day tea party. I’m hoping for even more treats on Sunday!}

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{As I said in the previous post, our house at the moment is far from tidy but at least there is one spot which is looking good so I will concentrate on that. While I love fresh flowers, I normally just place them on the kitchen table but this week I put a bunch in our bedroom and I really like it. Incidentally, my husband bought me these flowers from the supermarket (where they were reduced – he always has an eye for a bargain), two weeks ago! They have lasted much better than the expensive flowers I normally buy}

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! xxx

Linked in: Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring Cleaning collage

There is a theme to this week’s Linked In post: Spring Cleaning. I don’t know about you, but each year when March rolls around I start thinking about decluttering, reorganising and cleaning up both the house and the garden. I have to confess that this week I have not accomplished much, in fact I have even been struggling to do the everyday tasks like cleaning the kitchen and keeping up with the washing (with five people there is a lot of washing!). Obviously I have my excuses at the ready: I have been working more hours than normal and also we took delivery of a new tumble dryer this week, which didn’t fit through the door to the laundry room so I couldn’t do any washing for two days. Ever the optimist, I’m determined to get on top of things next week so here is a bit on inspiration from around the web to help me (and you) do just that!

1. Find some tips on how to make a spring cleaning checklist

2. The starting date for this challenge to purge five items a day from your home may have passed but it is not too late to join in

3. Here is how to clean and still be kind to the environment

4. Need some help? Here are some tips to get the kids involved with the cleaning

5. Spring is also a good time for a digital declutter

6. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be confined to the inside of your house: here are some tips for sprucing up your garden

7. Ever get the feeling that however much cleaning you do, it is never done? This article shows you how to look at cleaning as a practice  not a project

 

Recipe: Casper’s Super Gooey Yummy Chocolate Cake

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I made this cake for the annual Mother’s Day tea party at Casper’s Beaver Scouts group this afternoon. It is such a lovely occasion; the boys are all dressed in their uniforms and look so proud as they show their mums to the tables and ask if they want tea or coffee, milk (skimmed or semi skimmed), sugar (how many) and what type of cake – lots of questions for a seven-year-old to remember! Casper did very well, especially as he had not only me to attend to but also his brother and sister who were both eager to get stuck into all the lovely cakes. At the end, all the mums were presented with a small bunch of daffodils and a homemade card with a picture of their son inside. So sweet!

Personally I’m not a big fan of chocolate cake but ask Casper what his favourite thing in the world is and I guarantee that he will say ‘chocolate’. So you can imagine his delight when I suggested that we make this gooey chocolate cake with a chocolate fudge topping AND Smarties for the tea party!

Gooey Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

100 g melted butter
2 eggs
230 g caster sugar
100 g flour                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  40 40 g cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
A generous handful of chopped Daim

topping:
100 ml double cream
40 g caster sugar
50 ml golden syrup
50 g dark chocolate
50 g butter
Smarties, mini marshmallows or other sweets

Turn the oven to 175 degrees. Mix together all the dry ingredients in a bowl and then add the melted butter and finally the eggs and combine thoroughly. Stir in the Daim pieces and pour the batter into a prepared loose bottomed cake tin.

Bake in the middle of the oven for around 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the tin. The cake should not be completely set in the middle. Let it cool down completely before you make the fudge topping.

Topping:

Combine all the ingredients for the topping, apart from the butter, in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 15 minutes until it thickens (make sure it doesn’t burn!). Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the butter until you get a smooth fudge mixture. Spread the topping over the cake and let it cool slightly. Scatter Smarties, mini marshmallows or other sweets over before the topping sets completely. Put the cake in the fridge, ideally overnight, before serving.

Chocolate cake 2

 

The Fashion Clinic #8: Favourite Flats

Before I had children I never wore flat shoes. Ever. Since becoming a mum, however, I seem to wear nothing but flats, even though at 5′ 2″ I need all the extra height I can get. But let’s face it, heels aren’t exactly practical when you’re running after a three-year-old on a scooter, who is determined to keep up with her big brothers. So until they are old enough to make their own way to and from school, my beloved heels will only grace my feet on special occasions. Luckily, flat doesn’t have to mean frumpy and I’ve rounded up what I think are some of the prettiest around at the moment. In my dreams I would have those Chloe ballerinas in all three colours…

For some reason I never wear lace up shoes or trainers unless I’m going to the gym. I do have a pair of Converse stashed away in a cupboard and I like the look of them on other people but (in my mind at least) they don’t suit me or my style. I am, however, very tempted by these Ash trainers in shimmering gold. Practical AND glam – now that’s something I can really get behind.

The best flat shoes

1. Virgo gold glitter trainers by Ash; 2. Darcy Snake ballerinas by Oasis; 3. Asos Last Dance pointed ballet flats 4. Leather Ballet flats by Repetto; 5. Metal-heeled leather ballet flats by Lanvin; 6. Lauren metallic leather ballet flats by Chloe; 7. Toms Moroccan cut-out flat shoes

Spring Fashion & Beauty Essentials

Happy Sunday my lovelies! It is party time in the blog world today thanks to the fabulous Clarity and Ellie over at Beauty Stalkers who are hosting a Fashion & Beauty Spring Essentials link party. Below is my contribution and when you’ve finished reading, head over here to join the party and celebrate the first weekend of spring!

Here in the UK the arrival of spring tends to be gradual, with a chill in the air that can linger until May (or longer if we’re unlucky..) so it’s all about making subtle tweaks to welcome in the new season, rather than baring it all. Cropped jeans, 3/4 sleeve lightweight knits, and accessories in lighter neutrals and cool ice cream colours are the order of the day for me. Make up needs to go lighter as well with a sheer base, pastel nails, neutral lips and eyes, and a touch of peach blush. Switch to a summery scent like Marc Jacob’s Daisy Sunshine edition and start prepping your pins for warmer weather and you’re good to go.

Spring essentials

Metallic jumper from Hush; Odette cuff from Stella & Dot; Cassini mid heels in suede from Whistles; Sutra Hobo leather bag by Diane von Furstenberg; The Skinny Boy cropped jeans by Current/Elliott; Playful Dots scarf by Becksondergaard

Spring beauty

Nars Blush in Sex Appeal; Essie nail polish in Lovie Dovie; This Works Perfect Legs Gradual Tan; Laura Mercier lipstick in Tea Rose; Marc Jacobs Daisy eau de toilette Sunshine Delight  ; Dr Jart + BB Beauty Balm; Bobbi Brown  Eye Palette

Five on Friday

Happy Friday! I know I say this every week but hasn’t the time just flown by? I had a midweek meeting up in town and somehow spending three days instead of four working at my desk, made the week seem much shorter. For starters, I hardly had time to take any pictures but here is a quick recap of what I managed to pull together for the weekly Friday post.

Cameron

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will have already seen this picture of my eldest son, taken on our trip to the woods last weekend, but I love it so much I wanted to share it again. I find it hard to believe that he will turn 11 this year but I’m also deeply proud of the kindhearted, sensitive yet fun loving young man he is turning into.

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This week’s clearout at my parents’ house unearthed this little gem which I wore to my high school prom at the age of 16 or 17. I remember I wanted to wear it with my Dr Martens (or DMs as we called them) but my mum persuaded me to go for more traditional black pumps (probably a good thing! Sometimes mum really does know best.). The dress then accompanied me to university where I wore it to quite a few college balls but after I graduated it was stowed away at my parents’ house and forgotten about .

I bought the dress from the now defunct Hyper Hyper, a huge retail space populated with stalls run by independent young designers, on Kensington High Street in London. At the time it was my favourite shopping haunt along with the slightly seedier Kensington Market across the road. I haven’t been to High Street Ken for ages – is it still the go-to place for teenagers who consider themselves a cut above the identikit chains?

This is definitely a piece that I want to hold onto for Clemmie although I have to admit that it has seen better days. Despite having a dry clean label pinned to it, it shows signs of having had a few drinks spilled over it and it’s slightly faded around the edges.

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Fingers crossed, we are finally booking our summer holiday this weekend. The pictures are from our holiday in Mallorca two years ago. We had such a great time and the kids still talk about it but sadly we won’t be going back there this year. I can’t imagine not going to Sweden in the summer holidays and, with building work planned for later this year, our budget doesn’t stretch to two trips abroad.

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I’m not a huge fan of self help books but I was intrigued by this one when I read an interview with the author in Red Magazine. Gabrielle Bernstein promises to help time-starved readers clear stress and find peace using practical in-the-moment tools. Definitely sounds like something I could do with!

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It’s a good thing that I didn’t succumb to the temptation to put away all the winter clothes at the first sign of spring. In the last couple of days the temperature has plummeted by several degrees and today I actually wore gloves on the school run. But yesterday was the official start of spring so I decided to celebrate by ignoring the cold snap and buying some beautiful tulips (and turning the heating up!)

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! X

Interior Inspiration: A Touch of Monochrome

With a wardrobe that mainly consists of monochrome pieces with a bit of denim and neutrals mixed in, perhaps it is not surprising that I am drawn to interior schemes that also reflect my taste in clothing. Black and white is a timeless combination that can easily be varied and updated by adding colourful accessories.

All these pictures and more are on my Pinterest board ‘My dream abode’.

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{I love the lamp in this picture and the wooden floorboards}

Black & White 1

{A cosy and stylish living space}

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{The curtains, the rug and the lamp in the corner – it all works beautifully together}

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{I love the zebra rug and the Eames chairs. The kakelugn fireplace is a very popular feature in Scandinavian homes}

Black & White 4

{Marble worktops may not be practical but they sure do look stunning}

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{I would love a headboard like this in my bedroom}

If you go down to the woods today…

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I’m a city girl at heart and although we live in a village on the outskirts of London, I love that the city centre is only a 30 minute train ride away. But despite my affection for urban living I do sometimes get a yearning for wide open spaces. Now that the weather is better, we have all (especially the children) been craving fresh air, trees to climb, trails to explore and hills to roll down. Luckily, we also have on our doorstep some of the finest countryside the south east of England has to offer. So on Sunday morning we set off early to beat the crowds and drove up to Box Hill in Surrey where we spent a good couple of hours enjoying the great outdoors. We all had a fabulous time and, best of all, come Sunday night the kids were so exhausted they were out like a light at 8pm!

Cam & Clem

Casper

Woods 3

Clemmie

The boys & I