Five on Friday

Rush, rush, rush – that is how I would sum up this week. In between working, trying to sort out childcare, cooking, cleaning and making at least a half-hearted attempt at spending some quality time together, it’s been a struggle keeping up with the blog. Most of my time seems to have been spent refereeing various arguments that have erupted between the children. Half term + rain is definitely not a good combination, resulting in bored kids mooching around the house moaning that there is nothing to do whenever you switch the Xbox/iPads off. Throw in a few late nights – the boys are addicted to Britain’s Got Talent at the moment and have been staying up later than usual to watch the semi finals every night this week – and it’s hardly surprising that tempers have been fraying left right and centre the past few days. But we have had some good times too, catching up with friends, watching movies and playing board games at home. Yesterday and today I had to work so the boys went to football camp while my parents looked after Clemmie. It certainly did the trick as far as bedtime was concerned – Casper was so tired he asked to go to bed at 6.30pm yesterday!

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{We went on our annual family trip to Ikea last weekend. It was relatively painless as we got there half an hour after the store opened so managed to beat most of the crowds. As you may recall it is not everyone’s favourite destination…}

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{It seems ages ago now but last Monday was a Bank Holiday here in the UK. It was grey and drizzly so we went to nearby Hampton Court Palace where the kids took part in a digital fact finding mission around the palace. The boys were really happy as they got to use an iPad but hopefully they learned a few things!}

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{The burger chain Five Guys opened a restaurant near us a few months ago and the boys have been desperate to go so this week we finally relented. It was more expensive than McDonalds but the food was miles better. Clean plates all around}

Granola

{I made another batch of my vanilla granola this week. Really enjoying it with fresh berries and Greek yoghurt at the moment.}

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{I also bought a couple of books, both on recommendations from other bloggers. I was going to save them for the summer holidays but I don’t know if I can wait that long.}

Happy Friday to you all! What are you up to this weekend? We have friends coming for dinner tomorrow night so I have an apple pie baking in the oven, which we will have for pudding. Apart from that, we are just hoping for some sunny weather so we can get outside in the garden.  X

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Interior Inspiration: It’s all in the details

A beautiful home full of modern design classics. I love them all but if I had to only pick one it would probably be the Tom Dixon lamp. Which is your favourite?

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{I love these Ghost chairs by Philippe Starck}

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{The Eames rocking chair and the copper Tom Dixon pendant lamp are both gorgeous}

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{The Pia Wallen cross blanket has been on my wish list for a while now}

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{The Panton S chairs look great at the Eero Saarinen Tulip dining table and the kitchen is exactly how I would want mine to look}

See these images and more on my Pinterest board My Dream Abode

The Daily Wear #2

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{ Odd Molly Knitted Jacket ♥  French Connection Ruffle Neck TopMarc by Marc Jacobs Patent Leather Pumps  ♥ Bracelets from Links of London and a local boutique ♥ Paige Skyline Ankle Peg Skinny Jeans }

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{The bracelets up close}

Five on Friday

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{Where I spend most of my weekday mornings – working away at the computer while enjoying a takeaway latte and a bowl of granola.This last week I have gone swimming before work twice and I really hope I can keep that up as it has made a real difference to my energy levels. I’m also loving my new boxes from House Doctor as they make it so easy to keep the desk tidy}

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{I snapped a quick picture of the kids at school pick up earlier this week when the weather was still sunny. It is so rare for them to sit still long enough for me to capture all three. If you’re wondering why Clemmie is wearing a rosette, she insisted on putting it on after we read a book about a pony princess.}

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{Casper won the best Beaver Scout of the term award for being well behaved and selling the most programmes for their annual fair. I don’t know who was most proud – him or me!}

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{Despite having two older brothers, Clemmie is very girly. When I painted my toenails with my new blue OPI polish, she insisted I do hers as well!}

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{I bought this cute fashion stamp set at the V&A last Sunday. If you receive a card from me in the near future, expect to see some of these stamped inside.}

My husband has taken the boys out to the theatre tonight (Casper was given the tickets for being the top programme seller at Beavers!) so it’s just Clemmie and I at home. Very quiet for a change! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. X

The Beauty Edit: Just Add Sunshine

Sunshine Beauty

The arrival of summer here in the UK is always sudden and usually unpredictable, even for the poor weathermen. Last weekend we had glorious sunny weather, culminating in the hottest day so far this year on Monday. It is always wonderful when we get these sudden heatwaves, short as they may be, but I have to admit that the prospect of putting my lily white limbs on display didn’t have me jumping up and down with joy. But a quick trip into town and a rifle through the shelves in John Lewis’ refurbished beauty hall (I was very impressed – lots of new brands to try) and I was ready to transform myself, if not exactly into a bronzed goddess, at least a less ghostly version of myself.

Being a low maintenance girl, I’m all for keeping it simple and not over complicating things with too many products. A good exfoliator is essential – I normally use the Soap & Glory one but this Exfoliating Body Wash from Australian Organics worked just as well. When it comes to the self tanner I prefer a mousse as it’s easier to apply and you can see which areas you have already covered. Fake Bake has been my go-to brand for the last few years as it gives a nice subtle glow rather than a “I just spent a week in Barbados” deep bronze. I first bought a St Tropez tan applicator mitt last summer and now consider it a must-have to ensure an even finish, free of streaks and product build-up.

Add in a nice summery nail polish in ‘No Room for the Blues’ by OPI (pictured here with the Start to Finish all-in-one base coat, top coat and strengthener – a great multi-tasker if there ever was one) and I was ready to face the sunshine which lasted all but four days. Oh well, that’s the British summer for you!

Pin-Worthy Summer Recipes

Lately I’ve been trying to add more vegetables to my diet. Now that summer is almost here, fresh produce is in abundance so it’s the ideal time to shift your healthy eating up a gear. I love salads but find that unless I add protein and/or grains, they don’t really fill me up and I’m hungry again an hour or two later. As always, Pinterest is an endless source of inspiration and I’ve been busy pinning a few recipes I would like to try over the next few weeks. Now, if only I could convince my two youngest kids that these dishes are so much nicer than pizza or plain pasta…

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Shrimp Tacos

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Chorizo, Tomato & Chickpea Salad

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Sesame, Almond, Avocado & Spinach Salad

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Butternut Squash and Barley Salad with Poached Egg

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Quinoa Tabbouleh with Chickpeas

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Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Onion Salad

Find all these recipes and more on my ‘Food’ board on Pinterest

Currently Coveting #24: The Perfect Wedding (Guest) Dress

After a couple of wedding free years, we’re attending the nuptials of my husband’s second cousin this July. I love a good wedding and as the ceremony and reception are being held at Trinity College in Cambridge, it promises to be a fabulous day in a stunning setting. Now that we’ve accepted the invite and booked the hotel, the most pressing question on my mind is of course what to wear? I have a couple of dresses that would fit the bill, but the temptation to buy something new had me surfing the internet late last night looking for a suitable outfit. This dress from Carven (available from Harvey Nichols) would be perfect but unfortunately I can’t find it in XS at the moment and the advice is to size down as it comes up big. So now I have decide whether to chance it with a size Small or carry on searching…

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The Weekend in Pictures

Monday again! Hope you’ve all had a good start to the week. I can’t believe how fast the days are whizzing past. Next week is half term and I have yet to sort out any childcare for the two days I will be working. Better get my skates on!

We had a lovely weekend – busy but relaxing at the same time! A great combination of gardening, kids activities and a bit of ‘me’ time, plus the weather was glorious which always helps!

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{Clemmie and I gave the playhouse its annual spring clean. It could do with a lick of paint but at least we got rid of all the cobwebs.}

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{Cameron came back from his school trip late on Friday afternoon and then had to be up for a football tournament at 8.30 the next morning. Four hours later he was tired but happy to be on the winning team!}

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{I may not have made it to Bruges but my lovely friends still brought back some chocolate for the children.}

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{One of the nice things about sunny weather is that it makes healthy food seem more appealing! On Saturday I made a simple prawn pasta dish topped with rocket and sundried tomatoes.}

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{On Sunday my friend and I took the train up to London, sans husbands and kids, to visit the Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition at the V&A.}

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{A quick drink in the outdoor cafe before we went to see the exhibition.}

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{We rounded off the day with cocktails and a light dinner at Zuma in Knightsbridge. The perfect end to a great weekend!}

 

 

 

Five on Friday

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{Clemmie playing school with her dolls. It must be a girl thing – I don’t remember the boys doing this}

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{This guy went away on a school trip for three nights this week – the longest we’ve been apart since he was born. He returned safely today – tired and dirty but having had a fab time with all his friends}

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{Husband came home from work early yesterday so we put the kids in the car and went for an early dinner at our local Thai. The yummiest Pad Thai I have had in a long time and a cheeky glass of rose on a Thursday night}

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{I’ve been admiring the gorgeous flowers on display at our local florist. Now the sunny weather has arrived it is time to spruce up the garden, methinks}

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{A football tournament for Cameron, swimming for Casper, a princess birthday party for Clemmie and a trip to London for me to see The Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition are all on the agenda this weekend. It’s going to be a good one!}

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! X

 

Recipe: Vanilla Granola

Vanilla Granola

There is not much that beats a tasty bowl of granola with yoghurt and fresh fruit to set the day off to a good start in my book. The best granola I have ever eaten was a vanilla one created by the aptly named Hotel Vanilla in Gothenburg where we stayed for two nights a couple of years ago. I brought a bag of their granola home with me, but it ran out many moons ago, so I was thrilled to find a recipe for a very similar sounding vanilla granola on a Swedish baking blog. I have made a couple of minor adjustments by adding cinnamon and almonds, and the result is, in my opinion, nothing short of divine. When breakfast tastes this good it is definitely the best meal of the day!

280 g rolled oats
50 g mixed nuts and almonds
a good pinch of salt flakes

2 tsp cinnamon

100 ml water
80g sugar
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp vanilla essence

In a bowl mix together the oats, nuts, cinnamon and salt flakes. Put the water and sugar in a saucepan and simmer gently until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the oil and vanilla, then pour the liquid over the oat mixture and stir it all together. Spread the granola out on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and bake in the middle of the oven at 100C for approx 2 hours. Stir the mixture occasionally, every 20-30 minutes. Let the granola cool completely before transferring to an airtight jar.

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