Emilie introduced me to this all-in-one cleansing lotion from Nuxe, a fixed staple in her beauty routine, and I’ve become a fan too. In one single step, this alcohol-free cleansing water cleanses your face AND removes make-up, leaving your face all clean and fresh. And it smells nice too! I love doing more in less time, so this product is definitely a winner. Available through Amazon UK or US, or at French pharmacies.
After a long summer holiday, I have come back to London to find piles and piles of unopened mail and unpaid bills on my desk. My to-do list is long (and growing daily!), and I’m struggling to get myself and the kids back onto a regular schedule. Waking up on Thursday morning for the first day of school is going to be a big shock to the system!
Rachel from Lollipop very kindly sent me a few of her shop’s new goodies, and the timing could not be more perfect. I’m loving the handy magnetic notepads for organising shopping lists or to-do lists. I have also put this weekly planner front and centre on my desk and intend on sitting down every weekend and planning out the week to come. And these cool 4-way bands will be useful for so many different things! What great new additions to the Lollipop shop.
Have your kids started school already? Are you also finding it difficult getting back into the school routine… or are you happy to have the kids back in school and back onto a normal schedule?
I love the way everyone who visits Paris regularly has a favourite café, bar or restaurant. Kind of makes you feel a little bit local, doesn’t it? (I do the same when I visit London or New York).
In Courtney’s case, it is the Rose Bakery. And for a very good reason: the breakfast. In Paris it is actually very hard to find a good breakfast: Croissant and café are still the staple diet. Porridge, muesli or yogurt and fruit salad have not taken off over here… and that is were the Rose Bakery comes in. It is owned by an English Lady (called Rose, of course) and offers all the lovely alternatives to the French breakfasts. Turns out sometimes the English do do some food better than then the French.
Last Sunday I was having a lovely brunch there with a girlfriend and discovered the Rose Bakery has a cook book called Breakfast, Lunch and Tea, with all the best recipes from the café. It has been travelling with me on our little road trip around France and I have been cooking up a storm!
I am loving the hand-knit goodies from the newly established Cabbages & Kings. Aside from the gorgeous colours and designs, I like that the pieces are practical too. The leg/arm warmers, for example, have a little fold-over muff to act as mittens or booties on little babies. And the scarves can either be worn around the neck, or pulled over the head to act as a hood. Cute! Plus, all the pieces are hand-made by Peruvian artisans who work in collaboration with a network to help strengthen their local community and participating institutions.
I just got a pair of leg warmers for the new baby. It will be my first time having a baby in the colder Autumn/Winter months (all my other babies were born in the spring!). I need to stock up on warm & cosy babywear!
I had never given Hello Kitty a second thought… until one day, shortly before my daughter’s third birthday, she announced at the dinner table that her favourite colour was pink and she loved Hello Kitty! I nearly did a double take! Could she really be announcing a new obsession with pink?!! And Hello Kitty? Yes and yes.
Anyway, five months later and we’re still deep in the Hello Kitty phase. So I was pretty excited when I found these cute Hello Kitty SIGG water bottles. My daughter needs a water bottle for her lunchbox, and this could not be more perfect. I found them at AlexandAlexa, who have a great selection of fun back-to-school supplies. Have you seen their Lego lunch boxes and water bottles? Fun!
After the most depressing pre-summer in ages, finally, finally we’ve been able to pull out our sun dresses here in Europe. My family and I have been spending a few weeks in Spain and France, and it’s been hot to say the least. But I’m not complaining… Sun is on my mind, so I thought I would share some of the cute summer pieces from the I Love Gorgeous collection — it’s all on sale now! My 7 year-old daughter Sara has been living in this cute Playsuit – so perfect for her age and super comfortable. I love this grey and yellow dress and skirt with pockets too. Maybe I should stock up for next summer, you can’t beat the prices now! Do you ever stock up on sale items for next year’s season?
Eton Mess must be the most perfect English summer dessert! Especially as it is soo easy to throw together and almost impossible to get wrong.
All you need are meringues, whipped cream, sugar and some fruit (I have been using berries just because they are delicious right now). I have even been very lazy and have been using shop-bought meringues (Meringues seem to be quite hard work to make yourself, especially if you then end up crumbling them up into a big bowl of whipped cream, I think… but I am very happy to be corrected)!
All you need to do is whip up the cream (Esther and I made this recently for a party and I would say you should count for about 250 ml for around 6 people). After the cream is whipped, crumble in the meringues, and stir in the fruit. I would be a bit careful about not stirring too much, as it looks prettier if it has a slight marble effect, though it would taste just as good. Serve immediately before the meringue crumbles lose their crunch!
(The photo above is of Esther’s daughter, Sara, serving up a big dish of Eton mess).
Most of the time the projects I do with Henrik are made up using found objects from around our house, which can be really fun and creative, but it is so nice to have everything that you need for a project in one kit. Not too long ago we received this clothespin doll kit from Even and Elise and I couldn’t wait to try it out. Henrik had such a wonderful time last month at Summer Camp building a Robot that I knew he would love making clothespin dolls.
The kit comes with paint, a paint brush, colorful pipe cleaners, small fabric and felt swatches, glue, buttons, lots of small pieces of sequins and other do dads, a mini wood house for decorating, and of course clothes pins.
My niece Emma was staying with us and it was the perfect project for both she and Henrik to work on. It was so nice to just give them the kit and let them make whatever they wanted. I didn’t have to do much just stand back and watch. Henrik made Robot and Ninja guys and Emma made dolls with skirts and dresses and long stringy hair. Another great thing about the kits (all mothers will appreciate this) is that the paint and glue cleaned up very easily.
Henrik and Emma had so much fun playing with their dolls that Maja and Hazel (our dog) had to come and investigate.
What a crush I have on this lovely brand!. Moskidoos is based in San Francisco where all their collections are made. The owner Noemí was born in San Sebastian (Spain). She makes beautiful accesories for the home and for children’s rooms.
Super cute cushions, garlands, vynils, bags, and even the lovely paper circus in the picture, all made with great love and care for the world around us. They work with illsutrators and other artist to complete the amazing and fun look of it all.
They will soon have a clothes collection, so I will stay tuned, because I am sure they will have the same special feeling of all the things they already have on their website!!
Are you ready for school to start? I am soooo not ready. I’m still lamenting the end of summer and slow, lazy days! But… these cute back-to-school images from Zoobug are rather inspiring and fun. (I’m sure my kids will feel like that girl in the top photo on their first day back! It’s always hard to get back into the swing of things after a long break!)
Emilie finally took me to Wowo last time I was in Paris, and it was fun to discover the cute collections. The fabrics are so lovely, and it’s pretty hard to resist these cool hoodies with neon drawstrings, or even this sunny sunsuit? I did end up buying this cool bunny baby ‘Grenouillère’ for the new baby — so sweet, featuring Mr. Lapin avec moustache!
How cool are these? I am proud to say that my friend Patrick designed these hanging pot plants to allow anyone to have plants in their home no matter how small that house is. Growing up in New Zealand we never knew the concept of limited space but after moving to London it became apparent that not everyone is so lucky. Patrick designed these while studying ceramic design at Central St. Martin’s and living on the 12th floor of a tower block.
There are so many great reasons to have plants in your home including purifying the air you breathe. I really want some for my kitchen so I can hang my herbs! Check out the Boskke story here.
I have a huge soft spot for home mixed cocktails, I mean HUGE! My favourite party trick is being able to mix up something delicious to get the party started. After that, it does not really matter if the stereo breaks down or if there are not enough canapés — a good cocktail can make a party, I find…
The Best Cocktail Ever I discovered on A Cup of Jo has been the Summer 2012 cocktail winner. It is absolutely delicious, super easy to make and really unusual. I have made loads of variations based on the original recipe. I have used vodka instead of gin and mint instead of rosemary. I reckon it would be good as a virgin cocktail if you leave out the gin and just top up the rosemary syrup/ lemon juice with sparkling water…..
The options are endless but a great result is pretty much guaranteed!
The photo above was taken by my friend Gilles a few nights ago of a rosemary and mint variation of the cocktail.
I recently got some photos taken with my kids by the talented Sara Welch when I was home in the US this summer. Because I’m usually the one behind the camera it’s rare to find a photo of me with my kids, so it’s a special treat to have these photos. It’s also sort of fun to document my growing baby bump, no matter the qualms I have of my big pregnant body. I keep telling myself that this is the last time I’ll ever be pregnant, and I should enjoy my body, enjoy this feeling of carrying around a baby inside of me… and all the pains (and gains!) that come with it.
I wore my shirt dress from HATCH for the photos. I finally decided to invest in a few of their dresses, and I’m so happy I did. I’m really psyched about them because I think I’ll still be able to wear them even after the pregnancy is over and my body has (hopefully) gone back to normal. A worthwhile investment for sure!
Anyway, I wanted to share these photos with you. Might be the last time I ’show off’ this baby bump. I’ve got 10 weeks to go!
My friend Sally sent me this recipe last year, and it has become a staple in our weekly dinner routine. It’s such an easy way to fill up on a plate of healthy kale, and it’s as delicious as it is easy. It’s a bit like a ceasar salad (it has that lemony, garlic dressing and crispy bread crumbs), but much healthier because of the kale.
I had forgotten about this salad for the past month while on holiday, but then I discovered a whole patch of kale in my dad’s garden last week and since then we’ve been making good use of his garden’s supply. You can find the recipe here. Let me know what you think!
I have always been so fond of wooden toys. They look good and live with you for ever and ever. Jugar I Jugar is a Spanish brand selling all kinds of adorable toys.
But Jugar I jugar seems to be much more than a shop selling lovely toys. They have workshops, “tuppertoys”: they go to your house with a selection of toys and show you different ways to play. Brilliant! Their commitment with sustainable production, with quality human relations with their suppliers and their aim to have nice and gentle toys for our kids is something I really admire.
Lots of good reasons to take a look at jugar I jugar. It is such a pleasure to find people like Carmen and Claudia, fighting for what they believe.
Ava got this book, Monkie, for her second birthday 2 months ago and it has been such a hit with the entire family. It’s written (and illustrated) by the Dutch Dieter Schubert, and the beauty of the book is that it doesn’t have a word of text. The beautiful images however make you want to read this book over and over again. The story is about a little stuffed monkey that falls from a bike and finds its way into the homes of different animals (rats, hedgehogs, a magpie) before a toy doctor happens to fish him from the bottom of a pond. He patches the monkey up beautifully and puts him in the window of his toy hospital — to be discovered by the little boy who was so sad to lose him months ago! A wonderful book, that will appeal to the entire family.
Every summer we leave London the day school gets out and head to the US to spend time with family. Our long summer stints in the US are what make living so far away from our family that tiny bit more bearable. Plus, my little ‘city mice’ get a chance to experience life on the farm and a glimpse of my own childhood.
I have always felt that this gives my kids the best of both worlds: city life for the majority of the year and country life every summer. But this year, for some reason, I’m starting to question the ‘city’ part. I wonder whether life on a farm might not be the happier one (it certainly feels easier!). Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones… but there is a large part of me that feels like a slower-paced, more ’simple’ life might be nice for a change.
I know it’s summertime, and things are always happier when the sun is shining (and school is a distant memory!), but I do find my kids to be more relaxed, to be more adventurous and imaginative, to play together for really long stretches without a single moan or groan, and to have grown up so much in the past few weeks. The independence they have here on the farm, the freedom to make their own decisions and decide their own activities, the wide open spaces waiting to be discovered… these are all things I just can’t give them in London. No matter where we go in London or how far we venture off the beaten path, my kids are always under my constant supervision, there are always boundaries to how far they can run, how far they can throw their frisbee, ride their bike, etc. The difference between my 7-year-old in London and my 7-year-old on the farm is like night and day. The freedom he has to make his own decisions (within limit, of course), and the pride he has after making the right ones… has boosted his confidence and created a happier, calmer boy. This boy is in his element when he is outside. He is a born frog catcher, dirt digger, worm finder, fish catcher, animal loving, imaginative little boy… and his siblings are no different.
Of course on the flip side, there are so many things we would miss about London if we left: the interesting people and perspectives, the diversity and different cultures, the museums, galleries, exhibits, the food!, the parks, the constant interaction with strangers, the travel around Europe, the 2-hour train ride to Paris, the inspiration around every corner, the access to everything, the friends we’ve made, the life we’ve created, etc. etc. etc.
I know it is something so many parents consider and debate, and I know our little ”let’s move to the country and grow our own vegetables” discussions are not unique… so I would love to hear your thoughts. Where do you live? And what do you love about it? Have you found a life that mixes it both? (This would be the most ideal, wouldn’t it?!) Do you perhaps live on a farm, but very near to a city with access to city life and all its greatness? Please do share!
p.s. I read this article in the NYTimes the other day and found it very interesting — about how children thrive best in an ‘environment that is reliable, available, consistent and noninterfering‘. I suppose, no matter where you live, these are important parenting tips to keep in mind.
I have always loved the idea of having a swing or hanging chair inside the home and have wanted to install one in my own home (I just have to convince my husband that it’s a good idea). I think my kids would love reading and giving each other rides in it, and I would love how fun and relaxed it looks in my home.
Serena and Lily have designed a lovely hanging chair inspired by this chair. The rattan hanging chair would add a little 70’s Scandinavian style to your home and could go in any room; the living room, a child’s bedroom, or even your bedroom.
Here’s some tips on how I’d style the chair:
First I’d lay a sheepskin on the base of the chair and have it drape over the bottom slightly, like the picture above. Second, I’d add a comfy, round seat cushion made with the star fabric, and last I’d add some extra pillows for back support and color.