Five (or more!) on Friday

It’s that crazy busy time of year again as Christmas approaches at seemingly lightning speed. Only six days to go now folks! I am pleased to say that I have finished all my shopping, written all my Christmas cards and even started on the wrapping (unheard of until now as I can usually be found wrapping the last presents at 1am on Christmas Day!) It’s so easy to get carried away with the stress of it all but this year we decided to keep it fairly simple, limit the number of presents we give and just concentrate on enjoying having quality time together.

The only thing I still want to do is find the time to bake some traditional Swedish saffron buns and gingerbread biscuits with the children. I ordered some ready made gingerbread dough so hopefully it shouldn’t be too taxing. Today is the last day of school so we are planning a trip to the park this afternoon followed by pizza. A great way to start the holidays!

Here are a few pictures from the last week or so, via Instagram:

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{I went into town to finish off my Christmas shopping last week and started my three hour shopping session with a gingerbread latte and croissant at Starbucks}

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{A lovely night out with my very best friend from school who came over from Ireland to celebrate her birthday at Zuma in Knightsbridge. Lots of bubbly, yummy Japanese food and great company – life doesn’t get much better!}

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{The festive countdown continued with a Christmas concert at Casper’s Beaver Scout group where he played a wonderful piano solo…}

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{..and a very sweet Christmas show by Clemmie’s little ballet class}

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{The tree is finally up. I tried hard to curb my OCD tendencies this year and put the kids in charge of the decorations. OK, so maybe I moved one or two baubles but I think it turned out OK!}

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{The Christmas cards have all been written…}

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{..and the Swedish Christmas food order has arrived safely}

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{We even had time for a trip to the park last weekend to make the most of the dry weather.}

Hope you have a wonderful weekend whether you’re doing some last minute shopping, preparing for the Christmas feast or just putting your feet up and enjoying the festive mood! X

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas time

If we overlook the tiny little fact that we don’t yet have a Christmas tree, our house is starting to look very festive indeed. The tree will definitely be purchased this weekend and then we can hopefully sit back and enjoy the seasonal cosiness. We’re having some major building work done at the moment and I’m very relieved that the builders told us this week that the kitchen will remain intact until the new year. Somehow, I did not relish the thought of attempting to cook Christmas dinner in the microwave!

Meanwhile, the schools have started the rather grueling countdown to the Christmas holidays. I know it’s all good fun and I’d hate to sound like the Grinch but at the moment emails are being fired at me left, right and centre about Christmas concerts, class parties, Christmas hat day, Christmas jumper day, Christmas mini market etc etc. To be honest, the children are all completely exhausted and as they don’t actually seem to be doing any work at the moment maybe the schools should consider breaking up this Friday rather than next…

At least my Christmas shopping is done now, after numerous Amazon orders and a four hour session in town today. All that remains is the wrapping and of course sending out the Christmas cards (I bought pre-printed ones this year to save time) and then I really will put my feet up and sip a glass or two of mulled wine.

How are your Christmas preparations going?

 

Five on Friday

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{Last Sunday was the First of Advent so we lit the first of our four Ikea candles. We’re slowly starting to put some Christmas decorations up but have yet to buy a tree..}

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{The best thing about winter: cosy evenings in front of the fire with a glass of red wine and a good movie.}

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{‘Tis the season of the nativity plays and this year I have three (!) to go to. The first one, by Clemmie’s class, was this week and it was very sweet. In case you’re wondering, she was one of six Inn Keepers!}

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{One of my New Year’s resolutions for next year will definitely be to get organised and to this end I have purchased the brand new 2015 planner by A Beautiful Mess.}

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{The beauty goodies from the Liberty London Advent calendar have brightened up the grey mornings this week. So far I’ve uncovered an Aromatherapy cleanser, a Nail and Cuticle serum, a Nars blusher (my favourite item so far) and a £25 discount voucher to the hair salon run by celebrity hairdresser Josh Wood. Not bad and I still have 19 drawers to go!}

Hope you all have a great 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}

 

 

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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{This headboard is on my wishlist.}

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{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

 

 

 

 

Five on Friday

A week and a half into the summer holidays and we have settled into a routine of sorts. I do a couple of hours work in the morning, while the children play and watch TV. Then we have lunch and head out to the swimming pool at our local gym or just play in the garden – the paddling pool is still a huge success. The boys went to sports camp for two days at the start of the week and I had a meeting up in London for work but apart from that we haven’t strayed too far from home. Next week they are all going to camp on Tuesday and Wednesday before we go to Sweden for two weeks.

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{This has been the weather for most of the week – although rain is forecast for tomorrow.}

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{The paddling pool is very popular and the kids can now set it up and deflate it by themselves}

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{Cameron prefers to kick a football around the garden}

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{Today I gave the kids the option of going to the Aquarium up in London or to the cinema. They chose the latter and we went to see How to Train Your Dragon 2}

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{Followed by a late lunch at Pizza Express.}

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! We’re going to put the roof box on the car and start packing for our holiday. X

Interior Inspiration: Kitchen Thoughts

I’ve mentioned before that we are intending to extend our house this year to create another bedroom in the loft and demolish the hated conservatory. Well, planning permission has finally been secured and the builder has been booked for this autumn so now it’s time for the fun stuff like choosing the kitchen. We have never done a project like this before so it is a real opportunity to create the space that we want, but also quite daunting. A guy from one of the local kitchen companies came over today to do some measurements and give us a few ideas. As we don’t have tons of space or a limitless budget (I wish..) I’m sure that we will have to make a few compromises along the way but in the meantime I have been scouring Pinterest for inspiration (as you do).

Have any of you carried out major kitchen renovations? If so, what are the dos and don’ts? Please share as we need all the advice we can get! X

{Here are some of my favourite kitchen images. Find all of these and more on my Pinterest board My Dream Kitchen.}

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Interior Inspiration: Outdoor Living

The sun is set to make a welcome reappearance this weekend and immediately my thoughts turn to sprucing up our rather neglected garden. This time last year I was tentatively stretching my non-green fingers by planting pots full of vibrant flowers and clearing the borders from weeds and other debris like broken toys and ice cream wrappers that the children casually toss aside despite my admonitions. But this year, in between working and trying my best to keep up with everything else going on (I seem to be getting at least two emails a day from each of my sons’ schools about more things that need to be crammed in before the end of term) I simply haven’t had the time. To be fair, my husband has been doing a good job of mowing the lawn regularly and cutting back the big plants and shrubs, but he tends to leave the prettifying to me. Looking at these pictures, maybe this will be the weekend when I add a few decorative touches like potted flowers, hanging baskets, lanterns and string up some pretty coloured lights.

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{Striped hammock from Nordic House}

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{Large aged flower pot from Nordic House}

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{Garden candle torches from Nordic House}

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{Decorative zinc lantern from Nordic House}

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{Striped rocking deckchair from Graham and Green}

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{Dean St table and armchairs from Graham and Green}

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{Solvinden solar-powered lighting chain from Ikea}

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{Picture from Ikea}

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{Picture from Ikea}

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}

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{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

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